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.
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