Bumper Christmas sales for dairy

Published 24 January 18

The dairy retail market saw a significant seasonal uplift in the build up to Christmas compared to last year. According to Kantar Worldpanel, the category was worth £2.4 billion in the 12 weeks to 31 December 2017, 7% more than a year earlier. Although this was partially a reflection of higher prices, volume growth on 2016 levels was also recorded for most products. 

Dairy Market Update Chart

Cheese, milk and butter equally contributed to value growth.  

Cheese, an essential at Christmas, saw sales reach £714 million in the 12-week period, driven by strong sales of cheddar. Higher shelf prices were the main factor behind the uplift in sales value.  Despite the higher prices, consumers were still attracted to the category, and over a third (36%) of the value growth of cheese was from higher sales.

Milk sales told a similar story, with 36% of the value uplift coming from higher volume sales. In the 12-week period to 31 December, milk was purchased by 98% of households, up on the year, who also purchased more frequently, despite higher prices.  In total, milk sales reached a value of £766 million, 5% higher than a year earlier.

Butter sales showed positive gains in value, to be worth almost £225 million over the period, although volumes dropped. The average price of butter stood at £6.01/kg in the 12 weeks ending 31 December, up from £4.56/kg at the same time in 2016. These higher prices contributed entirely to value gains and compensated for drop in volumes.