A study by Kite Consulting and dairy sector data provider National Milk Records assessed the dairy consumption potential of 90 dairy-importing countries with a population of almost 5 billion people – representing two-thirds of the world’s population – outside the established cheese-eating blocs of Europe and North America.
It found “enormous” opportunities for British producers, with dairy demand from the 90 countries, which included powerhouses such as China, Indonesia and Mexico, increasing from 258 billion kgs to 304 billion kgs between 2011 to 2019 – representing a jump of 17.8%.
“The more economically developed a country is, the more cheese it will import,” the study claimed, predicting that “local dairy production in the importing countries will not satisfy the increase in demand, as the evidence shows that self-sufficiency decreases as economic development increases”.
“This trend looks as if it will accelerate,” the researchers added.
US government estimates published in July showed cheese demand in China tripling between 2012 and last year, with American, European and New Zealand exporters making hay on the back of “unprecedented” growth.
But if British brands were to become a cheeseboard staple at soirees in Shanghai or Dubai or Singapore, there needed to be “innovation in the processing sector” and “political support” for increased market access, according to the Kite/NMR report.
It follows warnings by Kite last month that the UK dairy sector faced a ‘reset’ moment due to soaring input costs, adding that dairy buyers would need to share the inflationary burden with suppliers, or risk losing product to buoyant export markets,
“Western dairy farmers and processors, including those in the UK, are likely to consider export markets as their sources of future, attractive business growth, so far as their environmental constraints allow them,” said Kite managing partner John Allen.
The company’s research follows the unveiling of a plan by the NFU two months ago to double UK dairy exports over the next decade.
It comes as the Department for International Trade last week launched an ambitious-sounding plan to try boost the value of overall exports to £1 trillion by making the most of “rapid economic growth in the Indo-Pacific region” and the “shifting [of] the world’s centre of economic gravity eastwards.”
By 2050, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey are “collectively expected to equal the G7’s share of global import demand,” according to the department’s ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ blueprint.