Milk powder

Australian manufacturers produce a range of milk powders. The technology used in both the production and use of powders has seen the range of specifications available from Australian manufacturers expand in line with customers’ needs.

In the years up until the peak milk production season of 2001/02, the most obvious trend in local milk powder production was a steady increase in the share of wholemilk powder (WMP) output—from a low of 25% in the early-to-mid 1980s to a peak of nearly 50% share of all milk powders produced in Australia in 2001/02. Thereafter the trend has reversed, with skim milk powder (SMP) production regaining share to reach just over 70% of total milk powder production in 2014/15.

Australian production of milk powders (tonnes)

2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13
2014/15 (p)
Skim milk powder 190,233 222,484 230,286  224,061   210,964 233,835
Wholemilk powder* 126,024 151,269 140,424 108,838  126,322 99,025

*includes infant powder
Source: Dairy manufacturers

Only about 15–20% of Australia’s powder production is sold domestically; with local usage mainly as a food ingredient and retail outlets accounting for only a small percentage of domestic sales.

Exported milk powder is often recombined into liquid milk products, particularly in tropical climates where fresh milk supplies are not readily available due to limited local production and/or restricted development of cold chain distribution facilities. It is also used in bakery products (improving the volume and binding capacity of bread, and ensuring crisper pastry and biscuits), confectionery and milk chocolates, processed meats, ready-to-cook meals, baby foods, ice-cream, yogurt, health foods and reduced-fat milks. Industrial-grade powder is used for animal fodder.