Valentine’s Day was a ‘grate’ time for cheese

Loved-up Brits proved they ‘camembert’ to be without cheese on Valentine’s Day, with the romantic occasion sending supermarket sales soaring.

According to Kantar, consumers showed there was nothing ‘feta’ than cheese for cupid’s special day, with an extra 1.2 million kg of cheese sold in the two weeks ending February 22, compared to the same period in 2020 – a rise of 6.8 per cent.

Cheddar led the charge, taking a quarter of the growth, followed by speciality and continental cheese at 24 per cent and British regionals making up 23 per cent of the volume growth.

Fresh cream also had a strong Valentine’s Day with volumes up 7.3 per cent during the two weeks, with more couples indulging in desserts. Butter was also up 5.6 per cent and milk rose 0.4 per cent – bringing a further boost to the dairy sector.

AHDB Senior Retail Insight Manager Kim Heath said: “A lockdown-free Valentine’s Day this year gave couples the option to eat-out after being limited to in-home celebrations last year. Also, with many concerned about money, there’s a possibility that some couples either chose not to celebrate or opted for a cheaper option such as a takeaway.

“As a result of these factors, retail sales were unable to match 2021’s biggest ever Valentine’s for food. However, when we compare it to 2020, a pre-Covid year, this year’s celebrations provided a fantastic boost for the dairy retail sector, in particular cheese.

“While we know that cheese is a popular choice for celebrations, we believe that consumers wanting to treat themselves, coupled with strong retail advertising on cheese and sharing boards, will have supported this impressive performance.”

Latest data also shows that Valentine’s Day provided a boost for continental meat, which saw a 33 per cent growth in retail volumes, as well as burgers and grills – which were up 6.7 per cent compared to the same period in 2020.

Pork was the only red meat to see growth during the event, with total pig meat up 1.8 per cent verses pre-Covid – but both beef and lamb retail volumes were down.

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