The Golden Export of Cyprus | Halloumi Cheese
February 22, 2023
Halloumi is the most profitable export product of Cyprus, as shown by its export revenues during the period 2017-2021, which reach €1.34 billion and are expected to increase even more in the coming years.
Actually, 2022 appears to have been the most profitable year for the “white gold” of Cyprus, as, according to data provided by the Ministry of Trade, halloumi producers exported 32,000 tonnes of cheese in the first nine months of 2022, worth €227 million – an increase of 23% compared to 2020.
Halloumi is known to be the main export product of the island, along with potatoes, citrus, pharmaceuticals, and cement.
The total value of halloumi exports from 2017 to 2021 amounts to €1.34 billion. The most profitable year was 2020, with 39,547 tons worth €266.4 million, followed by 2021, with exports of 38,717 tons worth €262.2 million, well above 2019, which brought exports of 33,743 tonnes worth €224.3 million.
Over the past decade (2012-2021), halloumi exports have quadrupled, showing an increase of over 30% between 2016 and 2021.
According to research data provided, the demand for halloumi is growing globally at a spectacular rate and is expected to bring profit worth one billion annually within the next five years.
According to the data of the Ministry of Commerce, the top client country is Great Britain, which in the first nine months of 2022 bought halloumi worth €122.7 million. Sweden follows, with purchases of €24.1 million, Germany with €16.3 million, Poland with €8.5 million, Australia with €6.3 million, Greece with €7.5 million, and the USA with €6.8 million.
Approximately 68.8% of these halloumi exports end up in domestic consumption, while 31.2% in business consumption (restaurants, catering, etc.).
The Director of the Trade Service, Mrs Panagiota Patsali, stated that the Cypriot government has mapped out a customized plan to promote halloumi exports to each target market, with the USA as the main priority, as purchasing interest and profits from exports more than doubled in the 2015-2020 period. The goal, according to the director, is an increase of 150%, which will bring $26.01 million by 2026.
According to the forementioned trend survey, Australia is also a promising market, with purchases almost doubling over the past five years, and said to be able to reach $40 million by 2026.
Last but not least, the Middle East market is a consistently promising market, as 1,556 tons of halloumi were exported there in 2020, worth $13.1 million, a number that is expected to grow by 7.6% per year over the next five years.