Brexit fallout benefits Scots cheesemaker as sales jump by third

A Scottish artisanal cheesemaker has seen sales grow by a third amid a “year of extraordinary growth”, including expansion into wider UK markets.

Highland Fine Cheeses has lifted turnover in the year to date to a record £2 million, up from £1.5m in the previous 12 months.

A combination of the Brexit effect, which has impacted the availability of continental produce, and a consumer inclination to support local food producers has pushed demand to “unprecedented” levels, bosses said.

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The Ross-shire company is now also supplying retail majors Waitrose and Marks & Spencer in England.

The maker of brands such as Caboc and Strathdon Blue is now actively recruiting, in what it admits is a very competitive labour market, to accelerate its growth trajectory.

Owner Rory Stone, whose parents established the business in the 1950s, said: “Brexit has, without a doubt, had a big effect. There is a certain grumpiness from our European friends and imports are not flowing as freely as they once did.

“This means that supermarket buyers and major wholesalers are having to look closer to home to source products to fill the nation’s shelves. There is definitely less choice in the cheese aisles.

“The last two years have also perceptibly changed people’s thinking about where food comes from, and the conditions in which it is produced. There has been a distinct re-shoring of shopping baskets.”

Rory Stone of Highland Fine Cheeses.

Stone said that sales may also have been boosted by the time which became available during lockdowns to devote to processes and quality control. “We are always on the hamster wheel of improvement,” he added.

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