UK wholesale prices

Updated 25 June 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.


Butter leads the pack after availability issues

Weeks 21-24 (w/b 20 May – w/b 10 June)

The disappointing peak in milk production has increased concerns about product availability that has driven buyers to act fast to secure supplies and made sellers reluctant to part with product cheaply.  The encouraging signals seen towards the end of the latest period have continued, albeit with some variation over the period.  Important to note that average prices are reflective of the whole of the 4-week period. 

Bulk cream have progressed over the course of the month, early on being closer to £2.16 but ending the period closer to £2.40, echoing movements on the continent. There was some volatility reported due to excess spot milk as a result of processing breakdowns.

Butter prices recorded the strongest growth by far, up £580 month on month to £5,660. There was some volatility caused by fluctuations in the exchange rate due to the weakening Euro following French election announcements.  Reports indicated that butter stocks are now very low. Some sellers are now cashing in on product bought cheaply earlier on in the year as buyers scramble to secure coverage. 

SMP markets continued to see the smallest change month on month, up by £50. The market was reported by some as “dead”, but a positive undertone was present. The GDT index fell marginally in the latest period.

Mild cheddar followed the trend set by butter and cream markets rising by £130/t. There was some range in valuations with prices in some quarters hitting as high as £3,800/t.  Market tone is positive with buyers coming back online alongside some concerns around future stocks. Reports indicated that sellers are not interested in selling cheap and would prefer to mature it than undersell. 

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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