After a nearly a year of lockdown measures, new Dairy Australia figures show a supermarket sweep of the refrigerator cabinet with extraordinary growth in dairy volume and sales numbers.
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Tinned food and toilet paper weren’t the only items snapped up by Australians in 2020, with shoppers hankering for lactose during lockdown.

New Dairy Australia figures show a supermarket sweep of the refrigerator cabinet with extraordinary growth in volume and sales numbers this calendar year.

The take-home volume figure for milk sales soared by 4.6 per cent to 1538 million litres, equating to a take-home value spike of 13 per cent compared to the same time last year — or $2.657 billion in dollar figures.

Dairy Australia senior industry analyst Sofia Omstedt said coronavirus restrictions had altered the way Australians consumed dairy products with an unprecedented shift from restaurants to household kitchens.

“Supermarkets have continued to report high sales since the start of this pandemic. Milk, cheese, yoghurt and yellow spreads have all performed really well in both volume and value terms,” Ms Omstedt said.

The Nielsen Homescan data also revealed Australians ate 163,000 tonness of cheese last financial year — a 6.4 per cent annual spike. The take-home value for cheese was $2.275 billion, a jump of more than 14 per cent.

For butter and dairy blends, Australians slathered more than 96,000 tonnes of the golden stuff on toast or blended it in baking over the past year. That 8.7 per cent year-on-year volume growth translated into sales figures of $826 million — a 13 per cent year-on-year jump.

“It’s worth noting food service sales (cafes/restaurants) and non-grocery sales have really been quite subdued this year, compared to supermarket sales,” Ms Omstedt said.

“That’s why there’s been such incredible supermarket sales figures.

“In the past few weeks, we’ve seen the easing of restrictions, most notably in Victoria but also in other states, which has allowed the food service sector to start to return to normal and bring back some balance in the dairy sales figures there.”

United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president Paul Mumford said many Australians had acknowledged the importance of buying locally-sourced produce in 2020 due to the geopolitical fallout from the pandemic.

“Dairy has really benefited from that shift to buying Australian made but we’re not the only ones,” he said.

“More Australians are looking at their labels more closely, working out whether their beef or chicken or bread and so on is made in Australia. I think the pandemic and all the factors associated with it has made people more aware that Australia is a world leader in many areas, including food production. That we can be relied upon to provide clean, green, nutritious food.“

Global Dairy Trade Event #306 concluded with the aggregate down 2.9%. Cheddar cheese was down 0.1%. Whole Milk Powder was 4.9% lower. Skim Milk Powder fell 0.6%. Butter dropped 1.0%

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