Posted: 20/10/2020

Artisan cheesemakers could command higher prices, says Cheese Set consultant

Artisan cheesemakers could demand higher prices, says Cheese Set consultant
Francis Gimblet, co-founder of The Cheese Set, says makers could justify higher prices

Shoppers would be willing to pay significantly higher prices for British artisan cheese if producers improved their marketing, branding and story-telling.

That’s the view of cheesemaker and campaigner Francis Gimblett, who is part of a new consultancy group, called The Cheese Set, launched to help artisan cheesemakers. Gimblett, who worked in wine and spirits for many years before starting his own cheese-making business in Sussex, believes there is huge untapped potential in artisan cheese. 

“I’ve hosted tastings with wine costing £5,000 a bottle, but the olfactory experience is no better than tasting artisan cheeses,” he said. “Cheese could never compete with wine and whisky on price, but there’s definitely an opportunity for cheesemakers to better convey the uniqueness of their products, and I think the public would pay more for the very best cheeses.”

Gimblett visited 100 British cheesemakers for his new book Gimblett’s Guide to the Best of British Cheese, due to be published soon. His visits and own experience of making cheese inspired him to set up The Cheese Set with three others: dairy technologist Paul Thomas; business expert Eric Wood; and design consultant Andrew Till. 

The group held a free webinar for cheesemakers and retailers last month, discussing the issue of branding and PR with guests including Neal’s Yard’s Jason Hinds, Catherine Mead, owner of Lynher Dairies and John Farrand, MD of the Guild of Fine Food.

“With COVID, artisan cheesemakers have had to speak more directly to the public through social media, but there is still a lot more that could be done to make people understand just how special these cheeses are,” said Gimblett. 

Read the latest edition of Fine Food Digest here.

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