It’s not just roast turkey and mince pies filling our supermarket trolleys this festive season, Australian cheese sales are set to climb in the countdown to Christmas.
National supermarket sales data reveals sales of specialty cheeses brie and camembert jump a staggering 941 per cent during the week of Christmas Day and enjoy a 342 per cent sales uplift across the summer months.
Speciality cheddar follows closely behind with a 923 per cent sales increase in the week of Christmas, while feta experiences the most extended sales spike and a 404 per cent uplift across the summer entertaining and ‘barbeque’ season, compared with the winter months.
Owner of Bill’s Farm, one of Australia’s leading cheese retailers and judge of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards, Bill Tzimas, says the supermarket sales spike is reflective of what he sees in December in his speciality cheese deli at the Queen Victoria Market, too.
“In the lead up to Christmas we definitely sell a lot more brie and camembert, as well as cheddar,” Mr Tzimas said.
“Popular for cheese boards, yes, but whole wheels of soft cheese also double as a festive centrepiece – we have a lot of people buying brie and camembert wheels to dress them up with fruit like strawberries, and display as a show piece on their Christmas tables.”
Olivia Sutton, owner of specialty cheese shop Harper and Blohm, agrees, saying her store experienced a huge spike in sales last December and is preparing for the same for this year.
“What started as a quieter period soon became absolutely crazy in the week leading up to Christmas – I had to triple my order and we closed for the break with just one jar of marinated feta and one haloumi portion left in the fridge,” Ms Sutton said.
“This year, we’re expecting a sales increases of 75 per cent compared to an average month – and when you consider we sold an average week’s takings in just four hours last Christmas Eve, this may well be conservative!
“Soft cheeses are definitely the most popular at this time of year because they tend to be the ‘go to’ for gifting. What was once reserved for a nice bottle of wine or bunch of flowers, a wheel of good brie or camembert now seems to be the gift de jour when visiting friends over the Christmas holiday – and why not? They’re the perfect accompaniment to a glass of champagne for a luxurious silly-season treat.”
Dairy Australia’s resident cheese expert, Amanda Menegazzo said when it comes to upping the cheese stakes, Christmas is not alone.
“Supermarket sales data shows spikes in sales of speciality cheese around other key holiday periods like Easter, Australia Day and even Valentine’s Day and the AFL Grand Final, proving that when there’s an occasion worth celebrating, we turn to cheese.
“Australians love to get the party started with cheese and with a fresh, hard or soft variety for every occasion, it really is the simple, impressive and crowd pleasing solution to entertaining,” Ms Menegazzo continued.
To help Australians get the most out of specialty cheese this summer entertaining season, Dairy Australia has launched Cheese Please, a free guide brimming with inspirational tips, tricks and advice from Australia’s leading cheese connoisseurs. Look out for it in your local deli or download a copy via legendairy.com.au/cheeseplease.