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Backing for Welsh Dairy Products

03 January 2013

WALES - Consumers are getting behind the farming industry by choosing Welsh dairy products during their weekly shop, reports DairyCo, the milk industry focused, levy funded section of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

According to new research carried out on behalf of DairyCo, one of the key reasons people buy Welsh products is to support local farms and businesses.

The research titled 'Welsh Dairy Products: Consumer Study Report' was carried out as part of the 'Improving the Welsh Dairy Supply Chain' project with the aim of gaining a better understanding of consumer knowledge and attitudes towards Welsh Dairy products.

The study revealed that Welsh dairy products are particularly well supported with the survey's respondents rating them amongst the most recognisable and attractive food and drink products Wales has to offer.

'Welsh Milk' in particular achieved a high score in both the food and the drinks category. Indeed, milk and cheese were, by far, the most recognised Welsh dairy products, and in all 57 per cent mentioned a dairy food product including milk.

The study showed a pattern in that most households do a weekly main shop at a supermarket where the vast majority (90 per cent) purchase their milk. As a result Welsh Milk is very much associated with supermarket branding, with most people buying the brand offered by the retailer. Awareness is also boosted by the fact that milk is used by households throughout the day and so enjoys regular exposure.

Of the 870 million litres of milk processed in Wales the vast majority is made into cheese, with over 80,000 tonnes of cheese produced in 2010.

However, when buying Welsh cheese, consumers tend to focus on a particular brand or variety such as Caerphilly. Few consumers appeared aware of generic 'Welsh Cheddar'; instead they focus on taste, price and how the cheese will be used (sandwiches, cooking, or as a main dish).

Some 84 per cent buy Cheddar from a supermarket, with 39 per cent of those buying Cheddar choosing a Welsh brand. The main reason given for buying Welsh Cheddar is supporting farms and businesses (42 per cent of those buying), with taste also important (35 per cent).

Head of dairy development Wales Delyth Davies said: "The research has positively concluded that consumers possess great willingness to purchase more Welsh dairy products in the future as long as the cost is competitive. In fact most respondents stated that they would pay a few pence more for a pack of Welsh cheese or litre of Welsh milk, although for some even these small increments were deemed too much."

DairyCo has also recently published a scoping study which focuses on small/farmhouse processors in Wales. This study follows on from the scoping study of the Welsh dairy processing sector which was published in 2011.

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