Hal­loumi Whop­per

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Hal­loumi sales are at an all-time high with the dairy in­dus­try ex­port­ing some 23,000 tonnes, worth EUR 156 mln in 2017.

Ac­cord­ing to An­dreas An­dreou, Gen­eral Sec­re­tary of the Dairy Prod­ucts Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, hal­loumi ex­ports are set to reach new heights this year gen­er­at­ing around EUR 190 -200 mln worth of sales.

If the as­so­ci­a­tion’s predictions come true, hal­loumi ex­ports will have dou­bled since 2015, when EUR 103 mln worth of hal­loumi was ex­ported.

To give an in­di­ca­tion of the in­come gen­er­ated by hal­loumi, An­dreou said that the gov­ern­ment ex­pects to earn EUR 300 mln per year from nat­u­ral gas re­sources, while hal­loumi brings in two thirds of that.

But An­dreou warned that a de­scrip­tion of the cheese’s in­gre­di­ents - sub­mit­ted to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion as a Pro­tected Des­ig­na­tion of Ori­gin (PDO) for hal­loumi as a na­tional prod­uct of Cyprus - may see ex­ports drop by half.

A stick­ing point among dairy pro­duc­ers is the ra­tio be­tween cow’s milk and goat and/or sheep milk in­cluded in the de­scrip­tion of the prod­uct filed with the EU.

Cur­rently, dairy pro­duc­ers make hal­loumi with a ra­tio of 80-20% of cows to goat or sheep milk, whereas the de­scrip­tion in the file says that hal­loumi must be pro­duced with a min­i­mum of 51% goat or sheep milk. “Such a ra­tio would spell disas­ter for the in­dus­try as there is not enough goat or sheep milk be­ing pro­duced, nor is there enough live­stock to pro­duce the milk needed,” said An­dreou.

He ar­gued that would have to num­bers to meet de­mand.

Fur­ther­more, hal­loumi byprod­ucts will not be able to use the name of Cyprus’ na­tional prod­uct, as the de­scrip­tion of the prod­uct in the file states clearly that it must be sold in the tra­di­tional form, that is folded in the mid­dle.

live­stock triple in ex­pected

“Ac­cord­ing to the file, hal­loumi can­not rounded or square shape,” said An­dreou.

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One hal­loumi byprod­uct which re­port­edly is do­ing well abroad is Burger’s King’s Hal­loumi Whop­per, a beef burger ac­com­pa­nied by a round slice of hal­loumi or on its own, as mar­keted in Scan­di­navia.

Burger King said their whop­per is sell­ing well in Swe­den and Den­mark. The fran­chise’s Cyprus Brand Man­ager Chris­tiana Louca said that the burger is per­form­ing much bet­ter than ex­pected in Swe­den, with lo­cal Burger King man­agers ur­gently putting in a sec­ond or­der for hal­loumi, as they had sold the orig­i­nal 40 tonnes faster than cal­cu­lated.

“We ex­pected that the Hal­loumi Whop­per would do well in Swe­den where it is well known, but it is also do­ing well in Den­mark, which is a new mar­ket for hal­loumi,” said Louca.

She said Burger King is plan­ning to ex­port the Hal­loumi Whop­per to coun­tries like Fin­land, Le­banon and the UK, where hal­loumi is par­tic­u­larly ap­pre­ci­ated.

En­cour­aged by the Hal­loumi Whop­per’s suc­cess, Burger King is ready to launch new hal­loumi-based prod­ucts such as hal­loumi sand­wiches, which are ex­pected to also do well both

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