Following British Cheese Week, which ran until last Sunday, new research suggests that when it comes to sandwich, pasty and pie fillings, British cheese may be more of a selling point than Continental varieties.

According to the latest research from international market analyst Mintel, Lancashire, Cheshire and Red Leicester are preferable to British consumers than Brie, Camembert and Emmental.

The report says that the sales of regional British cheese increased by 16% between 2004 and 2006, to reach a value of £220m. Market value for Continental cheese, on the other hand, fell by 7% between 2004 and 2006 to £340m.

"With growing interest in environmental and ethical concerns, we are becoming interested in the origin of our food," said David Bird, senior consumer analyst at Mintel. "As a result, we are seeing a growing trend towards ’buying British’, which has provided a boost for sales of British regional cheese."

Cheddar accounted for over half (52%) of all cheese sales in the UK last year, having grown 7% between 2004 and 2006 to reach £985m. "Cheddar has clearly stood the test of time and is still a British staple," added Bird.

The total British cheese market was worth £1.9bn in 2006, having increased 4% between 2004 and 2006. Sales are set to rise to £1.93bn this year - "no mean feat" considering the trend towards healthy eating, according to Mintel’s report.

Seriously Strong Cheddar from the Caledonian Cheese Company was named Supreme Champion at this year’s British Cheese Awards, part of British Cheese Week.