In this week’s RN, I look at the five most profitable types of cheese and which products retailers should be stocking to get the best sales from each of them.

I spoke to William Henry, who owns and runs a Simply Fresh store in Cleobury Mortimer, whose in-store deli counter has provided a point of difference for his business and boosted sales of one key cheese sector: speciality and premium.

Not everyone has the capacity or demand for such a niche range, but it can make your store a destination for new customers coming from far further afield and for the local community.

William gave us five tips to help you grow profits from specialty cheese:

  1. Stock local cheeses – this is the main reason why my shop has been so successful. I use several local suppliers from Hereford, Shropshire and Worcester. This also means people are willing to spend more on a product they know is good quality and sourced locally. I make between 45-60% margins on these cheeses.
  2. Use sampling to boost awareness – I do sampling all the time, and this encourages people to be a bit more adventurous and try something new.
  3. Offer promotions – I run a ‘Cheese of the Week’ promotion, which offers a discount on different type of specialty cheese every week. Again, this works really well to encourage customers to try out new products.
  4. Expand your range during seasonal events – I increase my range from 40 to 50 lines at Christmas, and I’m typically completely sold out when it comes to Christmas Eve!
  5. Get a counter, if you have space – I have a six foot counter for my cheeses, which I always keep clean and tidy. This makes the section more appealing to customers and helps them choose more easily.