Kenya, India, Hong Kong and Israel – just some of the countries across the globe who are getting the flavour of Dorset based Ashley Chase Estate’s award-winning cheese.
And with export sales increasing by over 50% over the last two years, it’s no surprise that Ashley Chase has been revealed today (Tuesday, April 21st) as a winner of a Queen’s Award for International Trade – the UK’s highest accolade for business success.
Ashley Chase’s main market for export is the USA to which the Company now ships well over 1000 tonnes annually. ‘Though other less obvious markets are starting to emerge as opportunities for our brands’ says Mike Pullin, Director at Ashley Chase. ‘Last year, we shipped over 7 tonnes of cheese to a customer in Mumbai, India – an increase of 700% on the first order they placed with us in 2011.’
Coastal Cheddar, an eighteen month matured cheddar with a characteristic crunch, is the main brand for export and is purportedly the best-selling branded cheddar in the USA. Cave Aged Cheddar, the Company’s most successful UK brand launched in 2006 and matured in the Caves at Wookey Hole, is also starting to gain traction globally with recent orders coming in from Australia, Hong Kong and Canada. Ashley Chase is also continually active in R & D, creating innovative flavours to tempt the palates of global customers. Recent developments include Cheddar with Truffles, Chocolate and Pumpkin Spice.
‘Many of our customers ship to different countries on our behalf, and we only get to hear about it through our website. In fact only last week we received an unsolicited email from a consumer from Kenya who said: ‘I have just bought some of your Cave matured cheddar in a supermarket in Diani which is on the south coast of Kenya. It is absolutely delicious … quite the best cheese we have eaten in 24 years of living here.’
This is the second time that Ashley Chase has been the recipient of the Queen’s Award for International Trade. ‘It’s a fantastic accolade and has made a significant impact on our business over the past few years in gaining credibility for our brands as well as helping to open doors to new markets. It’s a great honour to receive the award for a second time, particularly in the Awards’ fiftieth year. It’s our entire supply chain we need to thank – our farmers whose herds supply the milk, our amazing team of cheesemakers here at Ashley Chase who make such a consistently good product that gets re-ordered time and again as well as to our fantastic sales team both here in the UK as well in the USA.’