UK butter trade

Updated 18 November 2019

Data on UK trade in butter is provided here to give an overview of recent activity. Monthly import and export volumes are reported, split by product group and trading regions. 

Overview: September 2019

  • In the nine months to September, imports of butter were 6% lower compared to the same period last year.
  • Imports picked up in advance of both the March and October Brexit deadlines, but volumes dropped through the summer, probably due to high stock levels.
  • Total volumes exported between January and September were up 14% on the same period in 2018.
  • The increase in exports, combined with the drop in imports, has meant that the trade deficit in butter improved considerably compared to last year.

Imports

  • The UK imported 7,490 tonnes of butter in September, up 25% on September 2018.
  • Dairy butter (bulk and block) remains the primary form of imported butter, making up 81% of total import volumes coming into the UK in September.
  • This category saw a 28% increase in volumes in September compared to September 2018, and accounted for the majority of increased import volumes for the month.
  • Imports of dairy spreads and other milkfat products were also up on the same month last year. ‘Other butter’ was down on the year in September.
  • In the nine months January to September, imports of butter products other than bulk and block were 39% lower, mostly due to lower imports of ‘other butter’.

Exports

  • Exports of butter from the UK were 5,143 tonnes in September, up 2% on September last year when they were 5,066 tonnes.
  • The growth in export volumes of dairy butter (bulk or blocks) in September made up the majority of the increase, with volumes up 8% from a year ago. September exports of ‘other butter’ were also up by 448 tonnes, a 16% year on year increase.
  • Exports of dairy spreads and other milkfats were both down on the same month last year.
  • Bulk and block butter made up 64% of total export volumes in September, with other milkfats (including AMF) making up 25% of the volumes.