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Cheddar maker to abandon cheese business due to rising price of milk and supermarket competition


One of Britain’s best-known cheddar makers has ceased production because of the rising price of milk and increased competition between supermarkets.

West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, produced by Denhay Farms since 1959, is stocked by Waitrose, Morrisons and Tesco, as well as many independent retailers. But Jim Loescher, the firm’s managing director, said increasing milk costs and “deep-cut promotional offers” in supermarkets were behind the decision.

Monday was the last day of cheese production at Denhay Farms, but it will continue to sell a two-year stockpile of cheddar that is now maturing.

Between 2011 and 2012, gross profit margins for mature cheddar fell from 22 per cent to 17 per cent. In the same period, the cost of milk production rose by 11.6 per cent.

Mr Loescher said the team will now focus on farming activities and its bacon and sausage business.