UK wholesale prices

Updated 24 November 2023

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.

Overview

Weeks 43-47 (w/b 23 October – 20 November 2023)

UK dairy wholesale markets made some substantial moves upwards in November. All product categories recorded positive movements, although SMP was more subdued. An uptick in demand ahead of the festive period is reported to be supporting markets, alongside falling milk supply.

Cream prices were on a steady climb during the month, with weekly increases lifting the average price by nearly £200/t. Product sold in the latter week of the reporting period was quoted at over £2,000/t for the first time this year with trading reported as good and opportunities for export to the EU continuing. 

Butter prices saw the largest rise of the month, up £510/t. The range in pricing held relatively high as, like cream, prices marched on up each week. It was reported that stocks have tightened, adding further upwards pressure to the butter market on the back of lower milk supply, increased retail demand and higher cream prices.

SMP prices were reported to have had a more volatile month than other products, dipping in the early part and then recovering in the latter part of the month. Overall, there was little variation in quoted prices, indicating a fairly steady market with average prices lifting just £60/t.

Mild Cheddar grew £110/t in November after lagging behind other commodities growth in recent months. Stocks appear balanced with milk supply easing production. Market sentiment is positive with good demand both domestically and for export ahead of the festive season and other holidays such as thanksgiving.

                                                    

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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