The latest trade figures from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) show that dairy imports into the United Kingdom (UK) have fallen by 12% in the first half of 2021, when compared to the same period in 2020.

Similarly, exports from the UK have fallen by 12% for the same period.

Some of the reduction in imports and exports can be attributed to the UK leaving the European Union (EU). But there is also continuing disruption in supply chains from the affects of the global pandemic.

Dairy imports

Whey and whey products saw the largest decline in the first half of 2021, with a 39% reduction compared to 2020. This was closely followed by butter and other dairy fats, with a reduction of 37% in the first half of the year. Cheese and curd products have been decreasing since 2019, when 260,000t were imported. This fell to 225,000t in 2020, and saw a further decrease in the first half of 2021, falling by 21% to 175,000t.

The only major category of dairy products not on the graph (below) is milk and cream; this category has seen a 17% increase so far in 2021.

This can most likely be attributed to milk crossing between the Republic of and Northern Ireland.
Source: AHDB

Dairy exports

Just like imports, exports from the UK have also declined for the first half of 2021, with whey and whey products seeing the biggest reduction - a 42% reduction so far this year. Butter and other dairy fats have seen a 36% reduction, closely followed by Yoghurt and buttermilk which saw a 34% reduction. Similar to imports, the export of cheese and curd products has fallen by 22%, from nearly 90,000t to 70,000t. Once again, the only category that saw an increase was milk and cream, with this category seeing a 2% increase for the year so far.
Source: AHDB