SMALL BRITISH cheesemakers have received backing from the Prince of Wales, who has called on the public to support their industry.

Many cheesemakers lost 70% of their business when the hospitality sector was closed down due to Covid-19, and the future of the country's most celebrated farmhouse and artisan cheeses is now under threat.

With that in mind, Prince Charles has now urged the public to source local British cheese: “One thing that undoubtedly brings many of us great comfort is good food. It is, therefore, deeply troubling to learn that this crisis risks destroying one of the most wonderful joys in life – British cheese!

"The closure of our pubs and restaurants has had a devastating impact on the sales of British cheese, and I understand that some of our smallest producers are really suffering as a result. I am sure that I am not alone in thinking that it would be an immense tragedy if these historic businesses were lost forever, to say nothing about the wonderfully flavoursome, memorable and diverse range of cheeses they produce," he continued.

"As Patron of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, I know all too well that this country now has some of the finest cheesemakers in the world. And, if I may say so, it is a great injustice that our cheesemakers rarely receive the same degree of recognition that their continental cousins receive across the Channel! Many of these are small, family-run businesses, working to historic methods with irreplaceable knowledge and making the most delicious products imaginable," said the Prince.

"British cheesemakers need our support during this time of great uncertainty, and we can all help in the simplest way. By sourcing British cheese from local shops and cheesemongers, and directly from producers online, you can make a vital contribution to keeping these small businesses afloat during the prevailing crisis," he urged.

The first ever British Cheese Weekender was held virtually throughout the Early May bank holiday weekend, and was set up to raise awareness of the crisis facing the industry and to connect consumers directly to those selling their cheese online.

Chair of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, Catherine Mead, commented: "It's been incredibly challenging for small cheesemakers over the past six weeks, with many still facing very uncertain futures, so the support and encouragement of our Patron, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, means so much to all our members. Raising awareness of the significant issues facing the industry is essential if we are going to ensure the continuation of these small family businesses.

"This concern is shared by the public, who have been buying artisan cheese direct from producers and independent retailers in growing numbers, but we need this to continue and to become established as part of regular buying patterns," she said. "The success of the British Cheese Weekender shows just how much the nation cares for its cheese and we now aim to build on this support to ensure the survival of the fantastic cheeses made in this country."