The National Confederation of Livestock Organizations, the Executive Commission Bovine Milk and the Union of Dairy Producers of the Mexican Republic, celebrated the “World Milk Day”, with a series of conferences via the Internet or “webinars”, which spoke of the importance of this food in the nutrition of the population, especially of older adults and children.
Mexico has a national consumption of milk on average of 15,288 billion liters of milk, while national production, at the end of 2019, is 12,437 billion liters of milk so some companies have to import approximately 2,851 million liters of milk equivalent (fluid milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, among others), which corresponds to approximately 25% of demand, to meet the demand of the population, mainly children, youth, pregnant women and older adults.
Per capita, dairy consumption has remained static for several years in Mexico, at 110 liters per year (300 ml per day), a figure far below the recommendation of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which is 190 liters per year or 500 milliliters per day. It should be noted that production grows at an average annual rate of 3.5%, however, per capita consumption does not grow at the same rate.
To obtain this production in Mexico there are just over 250 thousand units of milk production from specialized livestock and dual purpose. These units are primarily micro and small producers, since 96% have less than 100 heads, in addition, there is an inventory of 2.5 million heads.
With regard to the health contingency caused by COVID-19, during the first stage of the pandemic, consumption of long-life milk increased due to panic buying. However, with the closure of food establishments and hotels, the demand for products such as cheese, yogurt, cream, and butter decreased significantly. The increase in the demand for milk allowed producers, especially small and medium-sized ones, to avoid the marketing problems that traditionally occur every year before Easter.
A reality that the dairy sector will face is the contraction of consumption, mainly due to the economic recession in which we are, the growing unemployment and the fall in income. It should not be forgotten that dairy consumption is closely related to the purchasing power of the population. To this, one must add that the school year will end at a distance and that the market will behave in a similar way to the summer holidays.
The other problem that will have to be faced is that the contraction of the milk demand will be felt when the increase in production begins in the region of Los Altos, Bajio and the center of the country, taking into account that milk production registers a seasonality as a result of the rainy season.
This combination of factors can lead to milk surpluses in these regions, with negative effects such as a drop in prices for farmers and, in extreme cases, social unrest. Another aspect that should not be lost sight of is the fall in the international price, which could motivate the industry to increase the substitution of domestic fresh milk with skimmed milk powder.
For small and medium milk producers it is very important to maintain the stability of the national market, so the proposal is the implementation of a milk program to withdraw “surpluses” from the market when they are available.
It will be necessary for the entire chain to work on the design and implementation of a campaign to promote the consumption of milk and its products, through social networks, in order to reverse the fall in demand for this foodstuff that is so important for the population.
World Milk Day
Every June 1st is World Milk Day, a date promoted since 2001 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to highlight the contribution of dairy products to human nutrition as well as to the economic growth of nations in a sustainable way.
From a nutritional perspective, milk and its derivatives are a source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, constituting a fundamental pillar in the human diet throughout the different stages of life.
In the economic context, micro and small-scale dairy activity means the means of support for millions of families in the world who are dedicated to its production and transformation, while large-scale production of this input and its derivatives represents a major activity for transnational corporations and the global economy.
Present and future challenges
Despite its nutritional relevance, milk currently faces the challenge of overcoming the stigma generated by campaigns that recommend not consuming milk, replacing it with drinks of vegetable origin. The principle of a balanced diet, which allows the consumption of all types of food, including milk and its derivatives, in adequate quantities, must be reinforced.
One of the great challenges for the sector is how to stop the waste of dairy products in the world, since thousands of tonnes of dairy products are wasted annually, which is not only an alarm for the companies dedicated to marketing them, but also for the urgent need to guarantee food security for humanity.
The Mexican dairy future outlook
In a country like Mexico, with high rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, among other ailments, the design of functional foods, that is, products whose consumption brings a specific health benefit, is a field of research with many opportunities. Regarding dairy products, laboratories are focusing their efforts on developing fermented dairy products with peptides with proven biological activity.
It is necessary to strengthen the artisanal production of cheese and dairy products through schemes such as the denomination of origin or collective brands, strategies that could give an impulse to Mexican families that sustain themselves from this activity to have an advantage that would help them market their products with an added value.
The challenge for society in Mexico is to try to consume dairy foods, with the certainty that, if you have a balanced diet, these contribute, along with other foods, to a good state of health, in addition to consuming local products to help the development of Mexican communities.