Cheese has been labelled a "high-risk food" because it is the most stolen food item across the globe, according to a report.
Shoplifting and organised retail crime cost the UK high street an estimated £4.9m during the past 12 months, according to the Centre for Retail Research .
Theft is a growing concern for shop owners and the amount of stolen retail goods increased by 6.2% in the year to July.
Food products are amongst the most targeted products, with cheese topping the list.
The dairy item's loss percentage (3.9%) is more than three times the global average (1.29%).
Neil Matthews, vice-president of Checkpoint Systems , a retail security firm, said: "Compared to the 2010 figures, loss among the high-risk food lines has shot up by more than the global average, evidence that they are increasingly being targeted by shoplifters."
Some 1.86% of clothing sales were lost last year, while mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow increased to 2.37%.
Thieves tended to opt for branded products - shoplifters stole an average of £79 worth of goods each time, according to the Global Retail Theft Barometer 2011.
Emmanuel Hembert, retail analyst at AT Kearney , said: "Retail casualties have been extremely high over the summer and some of the most exposed retailers have already disappeared from the high street.
"For the past six months, they have been affected by bad news - economic slow down, government cuts and now an increase in shoplifting.
"With the bad news piling up, bigger names on the high street may not be able to resist the tide."
It also seemed retailers need to keep an eye on their own staff. The report showed theft by UK employees represents 36.1% of the total loss.
Mr Matthews said: "It's extremely worrying that the actions of some people can end up affecting innocent families financially, which is a cost the majority of people can ill-afford in this tough economic climate."