Kenyans have never been big cheese eaters but with a growing restaurant culture and interests in various world cuisines, tastes are diversifying.
Brown’s cheese is a cheese company in Kenya started by a British Kenyan couple in Nairobi in the 70’s.
Today the company processes about between 7000 and 15.000 litres of milk each day from its own herds and local cooperatives.
They target high volumes yet very high quality milk.
“So we work very closely with those co-ops to get the quality that we want. No watering down of the milk, no hydrogen peroxide, no formalin, and the bacterial count as well. So we test all of that each morning, every churn that comes in. We also buy morning milk we don’t buy evening milk that again is our protection on getting fresh milk we don’t want milk that’s been sitting in chillers,” owner of Brown’s Cheese, Delia Stirling said.
Cheese rarely featured as part of Kenyan meals in the past but an expanding middle class has fuelled a rise in demand for luxury food and beverage products – including gourmet cheeses, creating a market that has allowed the industry to grow.
“I mentioned cheese generally as quite an expensive food and so historically it’s been for the wealthy in Kenya but that’s definitely changing, I think both as the middle class grows and as the restaurant market changes,“co-owner of Brown’s Cheese, Andy Stirling said.
From every indication, varieties of cheese meet curious and food loving customers. Retailers at Zucchini, a popular grocery store in Nairobi say after starting at low levels, they now sell an average of about 100 packets a week.
“ I think it will pick up but maybe with more exposure of people like going out there and having more meals with cheese. But it’s lovely. I’m sure once they start eating it they’ll be like me. They’ll be hooked on cheese,” cheese customer, Angie Kimani said.
The popularity of cheese shows that Kenya economy is expanding. Retailers say sales are high when a lot of awareness is created.