New Programme to Support the Farmhouse Cheese Sector
Teagasc and Bord Bia have completed a pilot programme that seeks to enable the future development of the farmhouse cheese sector in Ireland.
Cheese Institute Fundamentals is a development programme for the Irish farmhouse cheese sector. Designed in partnership with industry and delivered by Bord Bia & Teagasc, the programme consists of a series of workshops delivered over 10 months to 12 farmhouse cheese companies. Each workshop included a number of subject matter specialists and addressed topics such as cheese production and ripening, controlling cheese yield, batch variability, food safety and hygiene, whey utilisation, in addition to marketing planning, pricing & negotiations, business planning, key account management, the consumer and market, digital content creation and management.
Teagasc Senior Researcher, Dr. Diarmuid Sheehan said; “Irish farmhouse cheese production has great potential to expand and based on its positive image abroad, opportunities in export are strong. Cheese offers high end use versatility with potential for significant added value. Cheese Institute Fundamentals gives us the opportunity to focus on the development of the necessary skill set and expertise required by the industry. We are delighted with the opportunity to address key hurdles from quality to consistency and through to expansion in the sector. This is a long term training support which provides a great opportunity to leverage the available Teagasc expertise and the expertise available overseas through our international linkages.”
Eimear O’Donnell, Sector Manager Consumer Dairy at Bord Bia said: “The farmhouse cheese sector in Ireland comprises of 50 companies with a combined output of approximately €19m (ex-farm values). Over one third of output is exported to over 25 countries including the UK, USA, France, Germany, and further afield to countries like Australia. The sector is synonymous with quality artisan products, however it is only operating at approximately 40% capacity. Through the Cheese Institute programme, Teagasc and Bord Bia are supporting the sector to increase output and to maximise business development opportunities.”
The next phase of Cheese Institute will commence in the coming months with a focus on export. Cheese Institute Advanced has been designed to support companies with the potential to scale their businesses. It will comprise of a series of workshops and also one-to-one mentoring on both technical and marketing issues. For further information on the Cheese Institute programmes, visit www.bordbiavantage.ie.