UK dairy trade

Updated 19 August 2021

This page gives quarterly overview of UK dairy trade. For a detailed look at the latest monthly data please visit our dairy trade dashboard

Latest dairy trade news

Imports

Please note: as of January 2021 data, HMRC trade data collection and processing has changed, which has impacted trade statistics. Comparisons between this and historic data should be treated with caution, as the data is likely to be subject to future revisions.


Exports

Please note: as of January 2021 data, HMRC trade data collection and processing has changed, which has impacted trade statistics. Comparisons between this and historic data should be treated with caution, as the data is likely to be subject to future revisions.


Overview

  • The new trade environment seen from 1 Jan 2021 caused significant disruption to UK dairy trade initially, but has been recovering. That said, exports are still consistently down year-on-year for most categories (milk and cream sometimes excepting). Overall, H1 2021 exports were down 11% on the year.
  • Trade in the Milk and Cream category has been the least affected, as the vast majority of this is raw milk crossing the NI/IE border, which remains largely unaffected under the NI protocol. This category was up 2% year-on-year for H2 2021, driven by Q1 exports.
  • Looking beyond the EU, dairy exports to non-EU countries totalled 56.3k tonnes in the first half of 2021, down 8% on H1 2020. This is likely a reflection of the impact of COVID on both global dairy import demand and export supply chains, constrained by shortages in freight capacity and shipping containers. The majority of the shortfall occurred in the first quarter. Non-EU export volumes recovered in Q2, but remained down by 404 tonnes (1%) on Q2 2020.
  • Cheese exports in H1 2021 totalled 69.2k tonnes, down 22% on the year. This was actually the one of the smaller declines among the major dairy categories.
  • Total cheese exports to the EU fell 30% between H1 2020 and H1 2021. However, since imports also fell, a trade surplus in Cheddar was maintained for the first 5 months of 2021. In June this slipped back to a small trade deficit with the EU. Additionally, cheese exports to non-EU countries in H1 were up 14% on the year.

Additional information

Further publication of the trade data is prohibited, unless expressly permitted by IHS Maritime & Trade.
Visit our UK dairy trade dashboard Visit the UK dairy trade balance page

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