Structure of UK Milk Processors

Published 25 March 14

Structure of UK Milk Processors

Information on the number and size of enterprises buying ex-farm milk and those producing dairy products in the United Kingdom are given in this section.

Please note: The data is sourced from DEFRA's monthly surveys on utilisation of milk by dairies. Some smaller companies do not participate in these surveys and therefore it must be stressed that these tables give an indication of the size distribution of dairy companies in the UK but they underestimate the number and contribution of smaller manufacturers and therefore do not present a complete picture of the milk processing sector.

UK Distribution of Dairy Companies

2012

Size Distribution of Dairy Companies by Milk Intake

 

Companies Processing Milk

Volume of annual intake

Size Band ('000 tonnes)

Number

% of Total

Thousand Tonnes

% of Total

5 and under

339

85%

133

1%

Over 5 - 20

16

4%

202

2%

Over 20 - 50

11

3%

362

3%

Over 50 - 100

12

3%

839

6%

Over 100 - 300

14

4%

2,518

19%

Over 300

8

2%

9,189

69%

Total

400

100

13243

100

Source: DEFRA

Around 69% of milk processed in the UK is processed by 8 companies each processing over 300 thousand tonnes per annum. These 8 companies account for only 2% of UK milk processing companies. According to Defra data there are 269 companies processing liquid milk, however it should be noted that these figures are likely to under estimate the number of smaller manufacturers, therefore affecting the total number.

When it comes to the number of large companies supplying liquid milk to the market, around 90% of UK fresh milk output comes from 9 companies. A similar situation is seen in the cheese market, with around 82% of cheese output in the UK coming from 11 companies. For more information on the structure of UK dairy processors click here

UK Distribution of Dairy Companies

2012

UK Distribution of Dairy Companies by Product

 

Companies Processing Milk

Volume of annual intake

Production of specified commodity

Number

% of Total

Thousand tonnes

% of Total

Liquid Milk

269

100

6,711

100

Cheese

159

100

378

100

Butter

51

86

144

85

Source: DEFRA