Got (fresh) milk? Less than two in 10 consumers choose UHT milk

Friday, 22 May, 2015

For most Australians, when it comes to milk, fresh is best. However, throughout Europe and Asia, UHT/long-life milk is widely consumed.

Seven out of 10 Australians (or 13.6 million people) drink fresh milk in an average seven days, while fewer than two in 10 (2.9 million people) drink UHT/long-life milk, according to data from Roy Morgan Research.

These figures have scarcely changed in the past five years, except for a negligible shift towards UHT/long-life milk - consumption rose from 14 to 15% between 2010 and 2014. Fresh milk drinkers declined from 72 to 70% over the same period and those who drink both types of milk increased from 8 to 9%.

So, who’s drinking UHT milk? Consumers from older households are more likely to opt for the long-life option, while young parents are the least likely. Not surprisingly, young parents have the highest rate of fresh milk consumption (75%), while older households are below average in terms of fresh milk consumption (68%).

Of all Australian states and territories, South Australians are the keenest UHT/long-life milk drinkers, with 18% of consumers drinking UHT milk in an average seven days.

“Despite being almost identical to fresh milk in terms of nutritional value and calorie count, plus having the added bonus of not needing to be refrigerated until it’s open, UHT/long-life milk has made minimal inroads with Australian consumers over the past five years. Although UHT milk tends to be cheaper than fresh milk, the ongoing supermarket ‘milk wars’ mean the price difference is not as great as it might once have been,” said Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research.

“In short, producers of UHT/long-life milk keen to boost their popularity in Australia have their work cut out for them. Before they can make any progress, an in-depth knowledge of their current and potential consumers is vital: from the attitudes behind their purchasing decisions to the life stage of their household.”

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