The Covid-19 pandemic has brought an abrupt end to 10 years of growth in halloumi exports, with dairy producers uncertain of the future as mountains of the squeaky cheese pile up in Cyprus and the UK.
Cypriot dairy producers say that despite an increase in exports on paper in early 2021, with €95 million exported compared to €93 last year, it’s looking bad for halloumi.
In 2020 Cyprus halloumi exports yielded a whopping €270 million, breaking all previous records; however, the export figures for the first four months of 2021 are deceiving as most goods have yet to reach supermarket shelves.
“The majority of exports have been sent to storage facilities in the UK, as Cypriot dairy producers do not have enough fridges to store large quantities of halloumi left unsold due to the coronavirus pandemic,” said the head of the Dairy Producers Association, George Petrou.
Out of the 40,000 tons of halloumi exports worth €266.5 million, more than 17,000 tons worth €115 million were sold to UK importers.