Halloumi cheese production remains concentrated in northern and southern Cyprus. The producers in Cyprus export halloumi cheese to rest of Europe and other regions where consumption is significant. Considering the nature of the market, the top 4 companies, account for over 50% of revenue share of the market. These top 4 players include Petrou Bros Dairy Products, Zita Dairies Ltd, Pittas Dairy Industries Ltd, and Uhrenholt A/S. The Tier 3 category in the halloumi cheese market is penetrated by a large number of unorganized players. These unorganized players cater to the domestic demand for Halloumi, with the Tier 1 companies accounting for the bulk of exports.
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Halloumi cheese products have gained considerable popularity owing to positive perception about their authenticity and health benefits. However, frequent reports about proliferation of ‘counterfeit Halloumi cheese’ that uses cow milk as an ingredient has dented some of the consumer confidence. These developments have led producers, distributors, and other stakeholders in the supply chain to clamor for tougher regulations. The clamor for granting ‘PDO Status’ to halloumi cheese has reached a crescendo, and it is highly likely that such a step will change the demand-supply status quo. Considering the nature of the product, it is expected that the halloumi cheese marketplace will continue to be massively influenced by ever-evolving government regulations. The regulations may pose challenges to supply in the short-term, but experts are bullish on the long term impact of these developments.
The demand for halloumi cheese is on the rise and the popularity is not foreseen to decline anytime soon. Producers in Cyprus are focusing on increasing the total production, whereas key players are investing in R&D to keep up with this overwhelming demand. Genetic improvement of local goat and sheep breeds has been perceived to be one of the most efficient ways to meet the ever-increasing demand for halloumi cheese. Further, upgrading the quality and production of the animal feed is gaining the attention of producers. Market players are also relying on science to alleviate challenges posed by supply-demand fluctuations. For instance, researchers at the Edinburgh University are working in collaboration with farmers to formulate selective breeding programs. These breeding programs will be solely based on genetic dissimilarities linked to increased milk production.
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Demand for conventional halloumi cheese continues to remain significantly higher than organic variants. This popularity of conventional halloumi cheese can be attributed to multiple factors including easy availability and cost convenience. However, the prospects of organic variants remain bullish, with double-digit growth projected for the period 2018-2028. The growing popularity of organic halloumi cheese can be attributed to the broader trends pertaining to organic and natural. Additionally, growing awareness among consumers about the health benefits of organic halloumi, especially the rich concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids (FA), is also believed to boost its widespread adoption. The production of organic halloumi cheese using organic milk complements its nutritional affluence, thereby elevating its demand among the health-savvy consumers.
In addition to ingredient origin, animal-related claims have also evolved as a sought-after information amid consumers purchasing halloumi cheese. Sensing this trend, key stakeholders of the halloumi cheese market are voluntarily overseeing welfare of livestock involved in the production framework. Prominent stakeholders in the halloumi cheese market have started voluntarily identifying high standards of animal welfare that are achievable for their supply bases. Moreover, the industry stakeholders are also joining various animal welfare programs such as Red Tractor, Global G.A.P Aquaculture, and Responsible use of Medicines in Agriculture to positively drive animal welfare.
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