Wyke Farms in Somerset and Long Clawson Dairy in Melton Mowbray have received a joint grant from Defra to promote their traditional Cheddar and Stilton across the channel in France.

The French eat more cheese than any other country in the world, but so far have resisted the temptations of other countries’ cheeses.

However, these two businesses are determined to enter the French market, and have planned a marketing drive to include in-store demonstrations, tastings and recipe cards in hypermarchés across France.

Wyke Farm’s sales and marketing Director, Richard Barnes, said: ‘The French appreciate good quality cheese, and this is exactly what we have to offer. The Defra grant will help us to promote Cheddar to this famously hard-to-reach market.’

French people eat about 24kg of cheese each year per person, so the potential market for their product is enormous.

Martin Harris, Sales and Marketing Director at Long Clawson, said: ‘The benefits for the image of British Food, for the six Stilton producers and for other dairies will be significant.

‘We are a very important company for the community, not only do we provide around 250 jobs, but our use of contractors and suppliers for the operation provides employment and work for many other organisations in the area.’

Food and Farming Minister Lord Whitty added: ‘This is a good example of British companies taking the initiative and finding new ways to market and sell their produce abroad with Government help.’