UK firm Bridgehead Food Partners hopes to capitalise on growing demand for dairy products in Asia through the introduction of its line of adult snacking cheeses to customers in the region.

The UK-based cheese maker is exhibiting at Hofex this week (7-10 May) in the hope that it will increase its exposure to buyers from China and other Asian markets, Bridgehead MD Jonathan Cope tells just-food.

"We aim to expand further the export of our products around the globe," Cope said. "The Hofex exhibition, which prides itself in being the largest food and hospitality trade show in Asia, is an incredible opportunity for Bridgehead to communicate our products to businesses in Asia, which are becoming increasingly accepting of dairy produce."

Amid growing demand for cheese products in Asia, Cope argues it is important to establish a presence in the region while the market remains in its infancy. "In Asia, it appears that dairy produce such as cheese is becoming increasingly accepted, so gaining a foothold in the market now is key," he tells just-food.

While Bridgehead produces a range of speciality cheeses under the Green and Parsons brand, the company is particularly upbeat on the prospects for its adult snacking cheese brand, The Chunky Cheese Co.

Chunky Cheese is a 40g snack bar for "adults on the go", that comes in a range of flavours; Tangy Mature Cheddar, Cracked Black Pepper and Chilli & Lime.

"This product is to satisfy busy adults who are looking to be kept fuller for longer and enjoy some great flavours. It was developed based on consumer insight on cheese and snacking behaviour, but also the wealth of knowledge of the cheese market found at Bridgehead," Cope explains.

According to Cope, innovation is at the core of the Chunky Cheese brand. "Bridgehead pride itself on its innovative thinking, which is driving further development of the Chunky Cheese Co. brand, and adding a new dimension to a growing cheese market."

He suggests the company it is targeting an under served sector of the cheese market - adult on-the -go snackers. "This is where Bridgehead stepped in and developed a product that was in a convenient snack format. This opened a new adult cheese snacking market to add incremental sales to the cheese market, growing further by other brands following our lead and expanding not only shelf space but the market value. 

"Chunky Cheese is still the only branded product found in a singular bar format for on the go snacking, unlike the multipack formats which represent lunch box fillers, previously seen in the children's cheese snacking market."

In addition to pushing its own brands at Hofex, Bridgehead is also spotlighting a number of Welsh cheeses produced by smaller dairies, Cope adds.
"We provide a route to market for small producers around the UK, creating new opportunities for them to expand their business by finding new markets and highlighting future opportunities, such as the growing cheese market in Asia. However, we also search the UK for new cheese suppliers looking for the best of British produce, as we are only as good as our suppliers."

Two such Welsh organisations Bridgehead has taken to Hofex are South Caernarfon Creamery and Carmarthenshire Cheese Company. "They are providing a range of cheddars, blue cheese and bries that provide strong points of difference with high quality products and we believe now is their time to enter the Asian market."
Cope is optimistic that Bridgehead's cheeses will translate well and the company is hoping to leverage its Welsh provenance and distinctive taste profiles to grow in Asia. "We believe that with Bridgehead's strong range of products and innovative thinking we will be able to take this market by storm."