Low UK dairy exports continue in August

Thursday, 21 October 2021

By Kat Jack

UK dairy exports so far this year continue to run behind 2020 figures for all the major dairy categories[1]. The effects of the pandemic and the UK’s post-EU-exit trading environment have been the main drivers to reduced trade this year. Figures for the year so far (January to August) show most of the dairy product categories had exports 20-36% below the same period in 2020.

bar graph showing UK dairy exports for Jan-Aug 21

UK dairy imports (Jan-Aug) also show strong drops year-on-year in four of the major categories – powders and concentrates, whey products, butter products and cheese. Imports of the fermented dairy category, which is primarily yogurt, were only down 3%. 

bar graph showing UK dairy imports for Jan-Aug 21

The milk and cream category, which includes milk crossing the Ireland/NI border for processing, has a slightly more interesting trend. Jan-Aug imports are up 17% on the year, and have been strong since the spring. Milk and cream exports were slightly up in the first half of 2021, but a drop-off in July and August means they are now running 5% down on the year. 


A closer look at powder and concentrate exports

Export volumes in the powdered and condensed milk category have fallen 25% year on year, at 82.3k tonnes for January-August 2021. However, if we look at the category in more detail, we see a more mixed picture. SMP exports are down 36% (19.8k tonnes), and WMP exports are down 51% (20.7k tonnes).

Meanwhile, exports of concentrated milk and cream[2] have more than doubled compared to the same period last year, up 123% to total 26.1k tonnes. This jump seems to have primarily come from a lift in skim concentrate exports in the spring, particularly to the Netherlands.

  bar graph showing UK milk powders and concentrates exports for Jan-Aug 21


[1] HS codes 0401-0406. Includes milk crossing the Irish border for processing.

[2] HS code 040291

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Katherine Jack

Analyst - Dairy

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