We sum up our mission in three words: improve British cheese. Neal’s Yard Dairy’s immediate focus is, of course, on supplying our customers with the cheeses we like best. But our wider aim is to play a role, however small, in ensuring the sustainability of British cheesemaking.
Our mission is to improve British cheese. It's what we are here for.
Improving British Cheese
When Neal's Yard Dairy was first finding its feet in the early 1980s, British farmhouse cheese was in a state of seemingly terminal decline, as the industrialisation of cheesemaking and the supermarkets’ preference for cheapness, uniformity and unchallenging flavours put at risk the very survival of some of the country’s historic territorial cheeses. Things have improved in the intervening years, thanks in no small part to the efforts of founder, Randolph Hodgson. While the market for exceptional farmhouse cheese is growing, it remains both small and vulnerable.
Supporting A Community
We support our cheesemaking community providing feedback and advice on what we have learned through selecting, maturing and selling their cheeses, as well as providing our customers with accurate information about them. We seek out talent, encouraging young cheesemakers to see a viable future as craftspeople in our industry. We provide training and opportunities to people who want to better understand the way we select, mature and sell cheese, many of whom will go on to use those skills elsewhere.
In our shops, cheesemongers share their enthusiasm and knowledge with customers while listening closely to what they say; they are part of the conversation. Every person who enjoys our cheese and understands what makes it different is another person who will demand more than the bland uniformity of the supermarket chiller cabinet.
Today we have a range of cheeses we are extremely proud of, made by people we know and trust. We also know that we need to be better, to continue improving by asking good questions and sharing our findings. We are constantly learning how to nurture the deeply complex flavours that characterise our cheeses. The more we learn about the cheeses, about the people who make them, about the way we handle those cheeses and the people who buy them, the more scope there is to challenge, to explore and to improve.