American dairy farmers are very productive. We produce enough milk in this country to supply consumers here and abroad. The appetite for American dairy products remains strong with 2010 being a record setter for U.S. dairy exports. Almost 13% of the milk we produced in the U.S. last year was consumed outside of our borders.
What products are traveling to foreign lands? Some are ready-to-consume products, like cheese and butter. Others, such as milk powder, will be used as an ingredient in a variety of products. The U.S. exports whey proteins, milk powder, lactose, butterfat, ice cream, cheese and fluid milk/cream.
Over this same period, the U.S. imported about 3% of it's milk products. The majority of these products came from New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Mexico, France, the Netherlands and Ireland. The top four foreign products sold into the U.S. are cheese (50.4%), casein (23.1%), milk protein concentrates (21.3%) and butterfat (5.1%).
In 2010, the U.S. exported 3.7% of cheese produced, 7.9% of its butterfat, 47% of its milk powder, 55% of its dry whey and 68% of its lactose.
The largest customer for U.S. dairy exports continues to be Mexico. Other top markets are Canada, China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, Egypt, Malaysia, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. domestic market is a mature market where total dairy sales have not grown much in recent years. Milk production in this country grows 1% to 2% each year which makes the export market important to U.S. dairy producers. Marketers of dairy products are looking outside the U.S. to grow the demand for dairy.
Economic growth in developing countries is altering the diets of international consumers. There seems to be great opportunity for U.S. dairy products now and in the future due to declining global dairy product supplies, recovering economies demanding more dairy, and increasingly affluent populations in developing countries, such as China and India.
As a milk producer, I know we make a quality product and I’m glad consumers around the world enjoy eating American dairy!