Leicester

Coronavirus: Stilton sales plunge 30% amid pandemic

Stilton cheese Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Stilton can only be produced in Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire

The UK's only trademarked cheese risks disappearing after sales of Stilton plunged by 30%.

The cheese has Protected Designation of Origin status and can only be labelled Stilton if produced in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Sales have declined since the UK went into lockdown and export markets closed.

The Stilton Cheese Makers Association (SCMA) hopes the British public will support it through the pandemic.

The chairman of the SCMA, Robin Skailes, said: "Like many British food producers, Stilton sales have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We hope that the British public will support us by buying Stilton instead of imported blue cheeses which, in turn, will support British dairy farmers."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Stilton Cheese Makers Association (SCMA) hopes the British public will support it while the export markets are closed

The cheese is still being made but with demand down there are fears the milk used could be wasted.

The SCMA said it was also concerned the current situation would discourage the next generation of cheesemakers, with businesses looking at new ways to sell their products directly to consumers.

Stilton was first given trademark status in 1966.

Other British products that have Protected Designation of Origin status include Gloucester Old Spot pigs and Jersey Royal potatoes.

Blue Stilton

  • The making of the blue Stilton, a crumbly, pungent cheese, dates back about 250 years
  • The cheese was granted Protected Designation of Origin status (PDO) by the European Commission in 1996
  • By law blue Stilton can only be produced in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire
  • Only six dairies within those counties are licensed to make the cheese, which is exported across the world
  • However, the village of Stilton, in Cambridgeshire, has protested its right to make the cheese

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