Specialty cheese market on the rise

Cheese consumption is under the spotlight for New Zealand Cheese Month.

New figures show continued growth in the New Zealand cheese market, driven by an increase in specialty cheese sales.

Data shows specialty cheese is driving growth across the total market, with +6.9% volume (KG) growth the previous 12 months to July 2018.

Speciality cheese sales represent 17.6% of total cheese value sales, which represents share gains of 2.1% since July of 2015.

New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) Chair Neil Willman says many artisan cheesemakers milk animals most of the year to make their products.

He says it’s wonderful to see the growth in sales of New Zealand made cheese, but is encouraging more cheese consumption .

"Kiwis lag behind other similar cheese producing countries when it comes to per capita consumption," he said.

New Zealanders consume an average of only 8.2 kgs. per person annually, compared with Australians who enjoy 14.7 kgs. per person.

Both of which lag far behind the global leader, Denmark, with an average consumption of 28.1 kgs. per person in 2016.

New Zealand’s top 10 specialty cheeses by volume of sales are:

Feta (plain)




Blue Vein


Blue Cheese (all blue cheese not named Blue Vein)

Flavoured Feta



The fastest growing NZ-made specialty cheeses are: