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White out: Aussies opt for fresh over long-lasting milk

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January–December 2014 (n=15,944). Base: Australians 14+

Although UHT/long life milk is widely consumed across Europe and Asia, it is yet to take off in Australia, where the prevailing attitude appears to be ‘fresh is best’. Recent findings from Roy Morgan Research show that seven out of every 10 Australians 14+ (or 13.6 million people) drink fresh milk in an average seven days, while fewer than two in 10 (2.9 million people) drink the long-life/UHT variety.

There has been little change in these figures over the past five years, with an almost negligible shift in favour of long-life/UHT milk, consumption of which rose from 14% to 15% of the population between 2010 and 2014. The proportion of Aussies drinking fresh milk declined from 72% to 70%, and those who drink both types of milk in an average seven days crept up from 8% to 9% over the same period.

Long-life/UHT milk is most likely to be consumed by Aussies from older households (18%) and least likely to be consumed in households comprised of Young Parents and their families (12%). Conversely, this latter group has the highest incidence of fresh milk consumption (75%), while older households (68%) are below average in terms of their fresh milk consumption.

Fresh vs long-lasting milk: consumption rates by household life cycle


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January–December 2014 (n=15,944). Base: Australians 14+

Geography makes little difference to the kind of milk someone drinks, with consumption incidence fairly consistent between states — except for South Australia, where 18% of residents drink long-life/UHT milk in an average seven days.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“With fresh milk affordable and readily available, Australians have not embraced UHT/long-life milk to nearly the same extent as some European and Asian countries. Even among sectors of the population with an above-average incidence of long-life milk consumption, such as older households, fresh milk’s popularity remains unchallenged.

“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.

“Tellingly, young parents and mid-life families are even more likely than the average Australian to buy fresh milk, and less likely to buy the long-life variety. This suggests that they believe fresh milk is healthier and therefore better for their kids.

“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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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%