As October, aka NZ Cheese month approaches everywhere, everyone agrees that 2020 has been one of the most challenging years. For many New Zealand cheesemakers that has meant quickly adapting and finding new markets as farmers’ markets, some specialty retail food stores, cafes and restaurants closed during the lockdowns.
However there is a silver lining, while New Zealanders hunkered down staying safe they used their free time to explore and support NZ made produce, including New Zealand cheese, which is enjoying record sales.
NEW CHEESE LOVERS NZ WEBSITE
To share stories of New Zealand’s cheesemakers, NZSCA is launching its new website www.cheeseloversnz.co.nz on Thursday 1 October –and it is designed to become an information hub for favourite local cheese companies.
It features a directory of New Zealand cheesemakers and a link to information about where to buy including cheese factory stores as well as offering tips on storing and serving cheese.
Additionally – to meet the growing interest in cooking with cheese www.cheeseloversnz.co.nz has recipes for cooking with NZ cheese, including some new twists on old favourites created especially for NZ Cheese month by Kathy Paterson.
Cheeseloversnz.co.nz also includes a record of winners of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards from its inception in 2004 until the present. The website will be regularly updated.
SEARCHING FOR NZ’S FAVOURITE CHEESE COMPANY
For the second time the NZSCA is working with Barker’s of Geraldine to find Kiwis’ favourite NZ Cheese Company.
Cheese lovers are encouraged to vote for their favourite NZ Cheese Company. The NZ Cheese Company with the most votes at the end of NZ Cheese Month will be named Barker’s NZ Cheese Favourite Cheese Company
Voting will be promoted on www.cheeseloversnz.co.nz and also via CheeseloversNZ Facebook and Barker’s of Geraldine social media.
Barker’s is the perfect partner for the NZ Cheese Month Favourite Cheese Company as their NZ-made Fruit for Cheese is the perfect addition for NZ cheese platters. Its four delicious fruit pastes pair perfectly with NZ cheese and are at home on every platter. Find all four flavours – including new Black Cherry & Pinot Noir – in supermarkets specialty cheese sections.
NEW ZEALAND’S CHEESE TRENDS
NZSCA asked a couple of people with expert experience selling New Zealand cheese what the hot trends in NZ cheese are. Here are their insights:
Countdown Cheese Category Manager, Philip Greenslade, said the growth in specialty cheese for cooking continues and has been heightened by COVID-19 with people cooking and eating at home more than ever before.
“Kiwis are getting more creative and eating a wider variety of cheeses and including it in their weekly shop. Sales of entertaining cheese continue to be led by Camembert and Brie. However people are increasingly trying new types of cheese which is reflected with strong growth in Havarti and Gouda. Halloumi in particular is trendy with Feta and Mozzarella also showing strong growth. Additionally, more home cooking has created strong sales of large blocks, shredded and grated cheese.”
C’est Cheese Artisan Cheese & Deli owner and winner of the 2019 Favourite NZ Cheese Shopping Experience, Paul Broughton said they have noticed a definite change in the way their customers choose cheese.
“The biggest change is the demand for
locally made product. As people spend more time travelling around their country
they’re beginning to appreciate and connect with New Zealand’s vibrant
community of artisan cheesemakers. This is resulting in ongoing
purchasing of locally made cheeses as well as a heightened understanding
of the many different types of cheese made here.
We’re seeing many of
our customers trying styles of cheese that they previously might not have
considered – they’re more adventurous in their selections. Including
cheese in cooking is also on the increase, it’s not uncommon to have people
come into our Featherstone, Wairarapa shop clutching a recipe that requires a
specialist cheese as a key ingredient. Pleasingly, most if not all such cheeses
can invariably be sourced from our own expert NZ cheesemakers.”
 Nielsen Scantrack, Total New Zealand Supermarkets, Period: 52 weeks to 9/8/2020