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Milk market in the United Kingdom - Statistics & Facts

Milk deliveries in the United Kingdom have seen a renaissance in the past few years. This increased demand is likely due to a growing interest in reusable packaging to avoid plastic waste. Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in 2020, this trend was sent into overdrive. However, this is not the only impact the coronavirus had on the UK milk market.

Grocery market leader Tesco, in an effort to ensure the stock of essential products and streamline the production output of its suppliers, reduced its skimmed milk stock (some news sources report a complete stop of skimmed milk sales), removed single-pint milk cartons and ended multi-buy offers at the end of March 2020.

Before the coronavirus crisis, milk production in the UK reached 14.7 billion liters. Production numbers in recent years have been higher than in the early 2000s and 2010s. This should position the industry well to address increasing demand. However, the UK remains a net importer of dairy, while exports are roughly 56 percent the size of imports. The milk produced in 2018 was worth around 4.49 billion British pounds. Around 5.5 billion liters of milk were sold as liquid milk, while the remaining output was used for other purposes, such as cheese production or the manufacturing of food products containing milk.

About 1.88 million dairy cows supplied the UK with milk in 2018. On average, the annual milk yield per cow was close to eight thousand liters per year in 2017/18. Of the milk provided by the cows, the largest amount was sold as semi-skimmed milk. Over 900 milliliters of semi-skimmed milk are bought per person per week in the UK. The average household in the UK spends about 2.9 British pounds on milk per week. By far the smallest amount of money is spent on fully skimmed milk, the category Tesco is starting to remove from its stores.

Interesting statistics

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Milk market in the United Kingdom (UK)

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Key figures

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Milk usage

Dairy farming

Consumers' milk purchases


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