Opportunities in mozzarella for British exporters

Thursday, 18 April 2024

The news that Arla Foods UK are poised to invest more than £179m in processing capacity to produce mozzarella at its Taw Valley Creamery site in Devon demonstrates continued confidence in the mozzarella sector. 

Although not one of the UK’s traditional cheeses, the British population have embraced eating mozzarella with gusto particularly in Italian dished such as pizza and pasta.  In the past year alone volume of mozzarella was up 6.1% and value was up 24.3%.  ( 52 w/e 23 March 24. Source: NIQ Homescan). Good growth in the face of cost-of-living crisis-induced declines elsewhere in the cheese market. 

Apart from the domestic market there are key opportunities for mozzarella in exports.  In 2023, 43,415 tonnes of mozzarella were exported, an increase of 6.8% compared to 2022.  Whilst European markets made up the bulk of these exports at 88%, the growth is coming from elsewhere.  Asian markets, in particular, saw the biggest boost with exports increasing by 163% to 2,114 tonnes.  Over half of that demand came from China at 1,082 tonnes and a further 354 tonnes to Hong Kong with both markets seeing substantial year-on-year growth (335% and 122% respectively). Elsewhere, the Dominican Republic took 604 tonnes and the MENA region saw 1,500 tonnes more heading there. 

North America has been touted as a potential export opportunity for British mozzarella with the American love for pizza evident. According to the USDA US consumers munched their way through more mozzarella per capita than cheddar, consuming 12.5lb of mozzarella per person in 2022.  As yet UK exporters are not getting their slice of that particular pie with less then one tonne headed across the pond.  Tariffs for cheese are high into the US which may explain this. In our prospects work we highlighted that tariffs make trade outside of a quota prohibitive, meaning that most trade seen is likely to be of a high-value, specialist nature. 

There are clear opportunities for British processors and exporters in both established and emerging markets, particularly as Irish milk production has been falling in recent times.  

Image of staff member Susie Stannard

Susie Stannard

Lead Analyst (Dairy)

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