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The dairy sector plays a significant role in the UK. Our processing members play a vital role in their communities employing 20,000 people at processing sites around the country. On top of that, dairy farms employ 50,000 more people, both directly and in supporting industries.

The figures speak for themselves: there are 10,825 active dairy farmers producing almost 15 billion litres of milk each year, with dairy products worth a staggering £5.7bn at wholesale level.

By the time Dairy UK’s members have made award-winning cheeses, tasty yogurts, cream for your scones, butter for your toast and the milk for your tea, cereal, latte or a smoothie, that value has increased many times again.

The character of the UK countryside and the content of your fridge all rely on the work of the dairy sector and the people it employs.


British consumers show their love for dairy every day. If any evidence were needed to prove that, then the fact that 96% of adults buy milk should be proof enough.

Hot on the heels of milk, comes great British cheese. The high-quality cheeses our members produce find their way into the fridges of 94% of UK adults. Cheddar remains the country’s favourite, accounting for just over half of all nationwide cheese sales.

A huge majority of adults – 78% – eat spoonable yogurt or fromage frais, with more than half of them doing so twice a week or more.


Dairy Processing

Dairy UK’s members buy milk at the farm gate from Britain’s dairy farmers and transform it into the foods that consumers know and love.

Their commitment to bringing great tasting and innovative dairy foods to the consumer has helped push the UK to fourth place in Europe for the number of newly launched products.

In the UK, we are particularly good at processing and distributing liquid milk, with almost 6 billion litres each year ending up on doorsteps, supermarket shelves and in restaurants or cafes.

We also have a hugely diverse cheesemaking sector which accounts for some 4.8 billion more litres of milk. Cheese lovers can enjoy over 700 named British cheeses!

The rest of the milk is mainly turned into butter, cream, milk powders and condensed milk.

Britain’s dairy industry excels at getting innovative, fresh and tasty products to consumers in a safe and rapid fashion.

Doorstep Milk Delivery

Across Britain and Northern Ireland, milkmen and women rise at the crack of dawn to deliver fresh milk and other dairy products directly to people’s homes.
Doorstep milk delivery is a small part of the UK market, but it still provides a vital service to hundreds of thousands of homes each day.

Around 3% of the UK’s fresh milk is delivered directly to the doorstep by milkmen and women. That’s not all – some milkmen and women have diversified their businesses and now offer everything from cheese and eggs to water and even compost!

Visit to find your nearest milk delivery service.

If you provide delivery services and would like to be listed on our website, contact Dairy UK now to discuss membership on: 0207 405 1484.

Dairy Farming

The UK’s 10,800 dairy farmers are among the world’s most dedicated and professional.

They are also custodians of millions of acres of pasture land and nearly 1.8 million dairy cows. With generations of dairying know-how behind them, they are highly competitive and growing export opportunities.

Dairy UK is a processor-led organisation, so you won’t find a lot of information about dairy farming on our site. Other groups like the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and the regional Farming Unions speak on farming issues and can help you if you want to know about issues like animal welfare, farming systems or other farming related issues.

However, Dairy UK has strong connections with the farming side of the dairy sector. This is through the work of the Dairy UK Farmers’ Forum and our relationships with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, the National Farmers Union, the Ulster Farmers Union, the National Farmers Union of Scotland and the Farmers Union of Wales.

The International Dairy Market

The world’s population is growing and we need enough food being produced to help meet this growing demand.

International prospects for dairy are excellent, with economists forecasting the trade in cheese, yogurt, butter, milk powders and cream will grow in the coming years.

The developing world consumes two-thirds of the world’s fresh dairy produce. As incomes rise in many of these countries, the desire of the middle classes in particular to have dairy is increasing.

Britain’s dairy industry, renowned for its quality, is well placed to grasp the opportunities that increasing global demand for milk and dairy products provides. For example, the latest government figures from June 2018 show that UK exports of cheese are up 17% year-on-year, while butter exports rose 20%.

Quality and Safety of Dairy

Consumers have a right to expect that their favourite dairy foods remain healthy, safe and wholesome.

So, right at the heart of what we do is this principle, protecting consumer confidence in our top-notch products.

That means working with regulators to develop some of the world’s most stringent food safety and quality standards. It is something for which our dairy industry wins global recognition for, and is proud of.

Dairy UK is also at the forefront of other important work in this area, such as protecting food names and setting standards on food composition.