Dairy Australia - Dairy information for Australian Dairy Farmers and the industry

Primary content

Information on the production, sales, and trends for Australian manufactured butter.


In 2017/18 Australia produced approximately 93,000 tonnes of butter and anhydrous milkfat (AMF) in commercial butter equivalent terms (CBE).

Butter and AMF production (tonnes)








Butter/Butter blends (CBE)















AMF is butter with the water removed, similar to ghee. It is primarily produced for export and domestic food manufacturing applications, such as bakery and confectionery. While these sectors also use butter, the majority of domestic butter sales are through retail and foodservice outlets. The manufacture of butter results in the creation of skim milk powder as a co-product, utilising the solids nonfat components of the milk.

Approximately around 50% of the domestic sales of Australian dairy spreads were through supermarkets. In 2017/18 supermarket sales volumes decreased 2% to 48,000 tonnes, following a 20% increase in average retail price. International butter prices increased over the year causing the Australian price to grow. The spike in price resulted in an increase in retail sales value of 18% over the previous year, to more than $555 million. Changing consumer attitudes towards butter and saturated fats have seen butter and butter blends increase their share of the tablespreads market, at the expense of margarine.

Butter imports to Australia accounted for more than a quarter of the butter market by volume in 2017/18.  Approximately 90% of the 36,000 tonnes of butter and butteroil imported into Australia came from New Zealand. The majority of remaining butter was sourced from various European countries.

Australian exports of butter and AMF can vary significantly from year to year, depending on milk availability during the season and local dairy company responses to international prices for competing products. Export volumes fell roughly 25% last year, down to 15,000 tonnes, as Australian processors devoted milk into other production streams.  Australia’s most important overseas markets for butter and AMF were Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Greater China; out of nearly 40 countries.


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