Facing decades-high cheese prices, cheddar-loving New Zealanders are being forced to chase specials, downgrade their flavour expectations, or abandon the blocks entirely in favour of grated substitutes.

A mixture of inflation, Covid-19 supply pressures and high milk prices was sending prices for hunks of cheddar through the roof, with blocks ranging from $11 (£5.70, US$7.64) to over $20 a block.

In online budgeting and community groups, New Zealanders were brainstorming how to overcome the price hikes, and eke out their cheese a little longer. “We started using the really small side on the grater – it’s amazing how far it goes now,” one user said. Others had abandoned hope of buying the blocks entirely. “Blardy [sic] disgusting. Have resorted to buying grated cheese,” one commenter wrote. Another speculated that consumers could create their own “Tasty” cheese – referring to the sharp aged cheddar that costs more – by simply keeping it longer. “Just wondering in view of the fact that Tasty becomes Tasty by ageing, would mild or Colby become Tasty if I just stored it for 18 months?” they asked.

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