Canadian Dairy Commission
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Dairy Products

Dairy products combine great taste with nutritional value. As one of Canada's four basic food groups, they play an important part in nutrition by providing essential nutrients for growth and body maintenance throughout our life span.

In 2016, the fluid milk market accounted for 28.8% of total producer shipments, or 99 million kg of butterfat. The industrial milk market accounted for the remaining 71.2% or 244.83 million kg of butterfat of total producer shipments.

Fluid Milk

glass of milk

There are four major types of fluid milk: homogenized (3.25% butterfat), partly skimmed (2%), 1%, and skim milk (which has less than 0.5% butterfat). Organic milk is included in those categories and sales of buttermilk, chocolate milk and eggnog are included in fluid milk sales. The fluid milk sales have remain stable in the last 5 years.

Fluid Milk Sales

Creamcafé crème

Creams are marketed with butterfat contents ranging from 10% for coffee cream to 35% for whipping cream. Sour cream is also included in this category. Since 2011, cream sales accross Canada grew by 19.2%.

Cream Sales


The production of butter has remain fairly stable since 2011.

Butter production


From 2012 to 2016, Canada's cheese production increased from 416,576,000 kg to 465,529,000 kg. Together, cheddar and mozarella chesse accounted for 62.6% of Canada's cheese production.

From 2012 to 2016, Canadian cheddar cheese production increased by 11.2%. Quebec is the leading producer of cheddar cheese, with 40.8% of Canada's total production, followed by Ontario which produces 36% of the cheddar cheese in Canada.

From 2012 to 2016, Canada's production of specialty cheese was up by 4.1%. Quebec leads the way, accounting for 43% of total production, followed by Ontario which produces 39.5% of the fine cheeses in Canada.

Cheese production by variety


Canadian yogurt production is steadily growing. From 2012 to 2016 it grew by 11.2%.

The production of hard and soft frozen yogurt mix totalled 1,013,000 litres in 2016.

Yogurt production
Frozen yogurt mix production

Ice Cream

From 2012 to 2016, Canadian production of hard ice cream declined by 19.3% while production of ice cream mixes declined by 7.3%.  From 2011 to 2013, soft ice cream production rose by 13%. Ontario remains the leading producer of ice cream and ice cream products, with approximately 70% of Canada's total production.

Manufacturing of ice cream


1. Milk quotas and milk production in Canada are expressed in kg of butterfat.

Generic Promotional Activities

In Canada, milk producers finance the cost of the generic promotion of dairy products. This type of promotion complements brand name promotion conducted by manufacturers and highlights the qualities of particular dairy products. Canada is a world leader in this type of promotion. Fluid milk, butter and cheese have been the main products targeted by these advertising and promotion campaigns.

While each province is responsible for the promotion of fluid milk within its respective boundaries, marketing activities relating to dairy products are carried out across the country and are handled by the national dairy producer-funded organization, Dairy Farmers of Canada.

Producers take into account how much butterfat is used in various dairy products and the size of each market in order to determine and recommend priorities for promotional activities. Given the importance of butter and cheese in terms of their butterfat content, these two products continue to be the focus of most industrial milk promotion programs across Canada.