UK dairy exports down 11% in first half of 2021

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

By Kat Jack

The latest trade figures show UK exports of dairy products[i] were 11% lower in the first half of 2021 than in Jan-Jun 2020, and imports were 12% lower in the same period. This has been primarily driven by trade disruption following the new trade regulations brought in by EU exit, as well as the lingering effects of pandemic lockdowns on import demand and supply chain disruption.

For the Jan-Jun period, imports and exports of all major categories were down year-on-year, with the exception of the ‘milk and cream’ category. This category was up 2% year on year for exports, while imports were up 17% on the year. This is mainly driven by milk crossing the Irish border.  


Earlier this year, we noted that the UK had its first multi-month Cheddar trade surplus with the EU, which was maintained from January through to May. This trade surplus has not been maintained into June, slipping to a small 585 tonne deficit for the Jan-Jun period. However, on a more positive note, exports of Cheddar to non-EU countries have been strong in H1 2021, so we are still in surplus for total Cheddar trade. H1 Cheddar exports to non-EU countries totalled 10.6k tonnes in 2021, 8.7k tonnes in 2020 and 9.2k tonnes in 2019.




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

Image of staff member Katherine Jack

Katherine Jack

Analyst - Dairy

See full bio

Sign up for regular updates

You can subscribe to receive Dairy market news straight to your inbox. Simply fill in your contact details on our online form and select the information you wish to receive.

Visit the Keep in touch page

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.