UK wholesale prices

Updated 24 May 2024

Indicative average prices for butter, skimmed milk powder (SMP) and mild Cheddar cheese on UK wholesale markets. Bulk cream prices are weighted average prices on agreed trades within the reporting period. Product specifications are available to download at the bottom of the page.


Weeks 17 – 20 (w/b 22 April – w/b 13 May)

Despite all product categories recording an uplift in pricing in May, it was a month of two parts. All contributors noted that growth in prices only came in the last week to 10 days, as enquires increased following a disappointing peak in milk production. Prior to this, markets had been flat with little change from the previous month. Important to note that average prices are reflective of the whole of the 4-week period. 

Bulk cream prices were said to be ‘steady eddy’ at the start of the month in the mid-£2,000, however at the end of the period it was reported that some loads were going for around £2,200 as demand picked up. There was some volatility reported due to excess spot milk as a result of processing breakdowns. Overall the market tone was positive.

Butter prices recorded the strongest growth, up £170 month on month. As with cream the market was reported as steady at the start of the period with little movement from April but at the end of the month prices jumped up significantly with some quotes close to £5,400. It seems that buyers aren’t as well covered as first thought as many returned to the market in the most recent week. There are concerns over stocks due to lower than anticipated milk volumes.

SMP markets saw the smallest change month on month, up just £10. The market was still reported as relatively quiet, but a positive undertone was present. The GDT index rose during the period, providing some support, however it was noted that the price difference to US product was noticeable in global trade.

Mild cheddar followed the trend set by butter and cream markets. Mild was noted to have seen less price movement than other cheese such as mature, but still showed good growth with prices up £70 in May compared to April. Market tone is positive with buyers coming back online alongside some concerns around future stocks.

Additional information

The published prices will not necessarily match the overall actual price achieved by a milk processor as this will depend, amongst other things, on the proportion of product that is sold on the spot market and the proportion sold under longer term contracts and at what price this is done. The “average” prices should be used to track trends while the commentary will contain prices seen through the month.

Note there has been a change in the methodology for determining the bulk cream price from January 2021.

Information on prices and market conditions is gathered through a monthly phone survey of dairy product sellers, traders and buyers. Panel discussions cover ex-store prices on spot trades agreed within the reporting period and delivered within a maximum of 2 weeks for bulk cream and 6 weeks for butter, SMP or cheese. 

For butter, skimmed milk powder (SMP) and mild Cheddar, prices are indicative of values achieved for spot trades and exclude contracted prices or forward sales.

For bulk cream, a weighted average price will now be reported. This is based on submissions of an average price for agreed spot trades made within the reporting period along with total volumes traded. Data is entered by panel members via the AHDB online wholesale price portal.

Prices for bulk cream were not weighted by traded volumes prior to January 2021. 

Download dataset

UK wholesale prices

Additional Information

Product Specification - Bulk cream

Product specification - Unsalted butter

Product specification - Skim Milk Powder (Food)

Product specification - Mild Cheddar

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