UK wholesale prices

Updated 27 October 2020

Indicative average prices for UK dairy wholesale markets, including bulk cream, butter, skimmed milk powder (SMP) and mild Cheddar cheese.

Overview

Most wholesale markets were relatively calm in October, with no large shifts in the monthly averages. Cream prices, however, did see notable movement within the month. European demand influenced markets this month, particularly for fats. Uncertainty around the political situation come January is keeping buyers interested, but spare storage is in short supply for those thinking to stockpile.

Cream markets started the month strong but then dropped mid-month, with some recovery happening in the most recent week or so. It is thought that European demand had been supporting prices, but then fell when that demand dropped away due to increasing Covid restrictions. Additionally, a couple of UK plant closures affected the supply side. The overall effect on the monthly average price was a marginal increase from September.

Butter markets were calm in comparison to cream, but did decline. The value of fat weakened on the European markets in October. Older butter, for example from European PSA, increased availability, while changing coronavirus restrictions affected demand.

SMP prices trended upwards in October. While demand remains hesitant, there isn’t much availability, helping to keep prices up.

Mild cheddar had another steady month, with some hints of movement but no material change overall.

Additional information

Prices have been compiled by talking to dairy product sellers, traders and buyers. Panel discussions on market conditions and prices covered trades agreed for the period 1 to 26 October.  Prices reported are indicative of values achieved over the reporting period for spot trade (excludes contracted prices). The published prices will not necessarily match the actual price received 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.

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UK wholesale prices
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