Mixed November keeps dairy trade below previous year

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

UK dairy trade in 2021 continues to be down on the year overall, with January-November exports of dairy products[1] down 8% on 2020 and imports down 3%. Both imports and exports were down for most of the key dairy categories by 7%-28%.

  Graph of Jan to Nov UK dairy exports

Graph of Jan to Nov UK dairy imports

The exception was the milk and cream category (which includes milk crossing the Irish border for processing), with year-to-date exports up 1% on the year and imports up 57%. There was a particularly strong uplift in imports of milk[2] in September-November 2021 compared with the same period in 2020, and the vast majority of this milk came from Ireland. Given that Ireland has had strong growth in milk production during this period, while the UK has been running behind, this uplift in imports could be supplementing domestic milk supplies.

On a monthly level, there were some small signs of positivity in November. Exports of whey and whey products in November 2021 were 23% higher than October ’21, and 13% higher than in November 2020. Additionally, cheese and curd exports, although down 2% year on year in November, were 29% higher than October 2021, and the highest month for cheese exports in 2021. Overall, November dairy exports were up 12% on November 2020. However, this was primarily driven by growth in milk and cream exports; most other categories (whey excepting) were still down on the year.



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

[2] 040120, “Milk And Cream, Not Concentrated Nor Sweetened, Of A Fat Content, By Weight, Exceeding 1% But Not Exceeding 6%”

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