Consumption summary

The major Australian consumer dairy products are drinking milk, cheese, butter and butter blends, and yoghurt.

Per capita consumption of major dairy products (litres/kg)

  Milk (l) Cheese (kg) Butter/Blends (kg) Yoghurt (kg)
2010/11 (r) 104.5 13.6 3.9 7.3
2011/12 (r)  106.0 13.4 3.9 7.4
2012/13 (r)  106.7 13.5
3.7 7.4
2013/14 (r)
105.8
13.5
3.9
7.4
2014/15 (p)
 105.0  13.6 4.0
7.2
 Source: Dairy manufactuers and Dairy Australia

Per capita consumption trends over the past two decades have varied quite significantly by individual product. These trends reflect changes in consumer tastes and preferences in response to a multitude of variables, such as multicultural influences on food trends, health perceptions around dairy products and manufacturers’ responses (with low-fat variants), new product development, flavour and packaging innovations, competitive category offerings, and the distribution and hence availability of products.

Per capita consumption of drinking milk is currently estimated at around 105 litres, falling back over the last two years from a recent peak reached at the time the supermarket channel saw an outbreak of ‘milk price wars’ when one of the major chains reduced its private label milk price to $1-00 per litre for both full cream milks and modified milks and all competitors followed. Nevertheless, it remains at very high levels compared to many countries – thanks in no small part to the relentless expansion of the ‘coffee culture’ in Australia during the last decade.

Cheese consumption has stabilised in recent years at around 13.5 kg per person, as has the split between cheddar to non-cheddar varieties, with nearly 55% being cheddar types and the remaining 45% spread across the wide range of non-cheddar cheese varieties available in Australia.

Annual per capita consumption of butter in Australia is around 4.0 kgs. Consumers continue to remain interested in the ‘naturalness’ of butter, together with its superior taste and cooking functionality.

Yoghurt is the ultimate ‘healthy snack’ for time-pressed consumers, combining both convenience and health attributes, with per capita consumption at 7.2 kg per year.