A SOMERSET cheese producer is forecasting record sales to the US - reaching an estimated £19 million.

Somerdale International, based in Wellington, says sales of British cheese in the USA are on course to reach the $25 million (£19 million) for the year to the end of March 2020, up around 17% on the year before.

The firm says the record sales were helped by a growth in people across the Atlantic celebrating over Christmas with British cheese.

Somerdale is now preparing to showcase its range of British cheeses at the Winter Fancy Food Show, being held in San Francisco from January 19 to 21.

The company's brands include ‘Westminster’, which is set to be boosted further with the launch at Winter Fancy Food of ‘Westminster - Gold Hill Cheddar’ an award-winning sweet mature cheddar.

Director at Somerdale, Alan Jenkins, said: “The US is our most important international market and we are delighted to be seeing strong year on year growth as American consumers continue their love affair with British cheese.

“From Somerdale’s perspective, the Winter Fancy Food Show is a great opportunity to showcase our comprehensive range of high quality, branded and customer specific British cheeses.

"We look forward to meeting new and existing customers and sampling with them the very best of British cheese including aged cheddars, regional territorial cheeses, Blue Stilton – ‘the King of British Cheese’ and our growing range of blended cheeses such as the iconic Wensleydale and Cranberries."

Somerset County Gazette:

SUCCESS STORY: Somerdale's Westminster cheese range

However, Mr Jenkins said the firm remained positive about growth in the US, despite 'turbulent times' over tariffs, trade wars and political uncertainty.

He added: “Of course these are currently turbulent times with tariffs, trade wars and political uncertainty giving rise to some short-term headwinds but Somerdale remains positive about the prospects for further growth in the US market.

"We remain fully committed to reinforcing our position as the leading supplier of British cheese to the US market as demonstrated by our ongoing investment in our dedicated US sales and support team and launch at Winter Fancy Food of our new ‘Westminster - Gold Hill Cheddar’.”