Tesco & Jamie Oliver provide lifeline for UK cheesemakers

Tesco and Jamie Oliver have linked up to support two small artisan British farmhouse cheesemakers who have been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kirkham’s Lancashire and Keen’s Cheddar, from Somerset, both rely heavily on the service industry as well as farmers’ markets for income.

The dramatic downturn in trade meant that both cheesemakers were left with a lot of raw milk to make their products, as well as several tonnes of cheese which would have had to have been thrown away.

But Tesco has decided to step in and stock both speciality varieties in order to help the two cheesemakers survive the present crisis - and give Tesco shoppers access to these delicious cheeses.

Tesco Cheese Buying Manager, Matt Merridew said, “These two delicious cheeses will be fine additions to our speciality range which has soared in popularity during the present lockdown as shoppers are treating themselves to luxury varieties.”

In recent weeks demand for speciality cheese at Tesco stores across the UK has rocketed by 35 per cent compared with the same time last year.

Kirkham’s Traditional Unpasteurised Lancashire, based in Preston, is a succulent, very tangy, crumbly and creamy cheese made from cow’s milk that is excellent for toasting.

Keen’s Cheddar, made from unpasteurised cow’s milk has a nutty and fruity tang that is matured for up to 12 months and which is perfect for a Ploughman’s. It won the Supreme Award at the 2013 Global Cheese Awards.

Jamie Oliver said, 'Rallying around our fantastic British producers at this incredibly challenging time is so important if we want to keep the industry afloat.

“I am thrilled that Tesco has decided to step in to ensure these beautiful British cheeses will remain available to the public.'

Both cheeses have just gone on sale at nearly 200 Tesco stores across the UK, priced at 2.75 each. They will each have a sticker on them stating 'Save British Farmhouse Cheeses – supported by Jamie Oliver'.