According to a USDEC report, 2012 Year in Review, US dairy exports up to October were on pace to “crack the $5bn mark for the first time” in 2012. The country also maintained its share of total export volume despite “tough market conditions” the organisation revealed.
The industry’s export performance over the last year signals its intention to “pursue a major role at the global dairy table”, the report added.
“Under tough market conditions, including unfavourable pricing for much of the year, historic global drought, the United States maintained a 19% share of total export volume from the five major suppliers (New Zealand, European Union, United States, Australia and Argentina),” said the document.
“US export performance into such headwinds highlights just how far the US industry has come in becoming a consistent global dairy supplier. In what is clearly a sign of the maturation of the industry as a world player, US suppliers not only fought to defend hard-won market share, they invested in future growth.”
Meeting overseas market demands
To maintain its share of the export market, US suppliers are going further than ever to cater to the demands of these overseas markets, said the report.
“With dairy’s exploding global consumption, overseas processors are growing more sophisticated in dairy ingredients handling and new product development. To achieve uniform performance and meet consumer expectations, these processors demand greater consistency and increasingly stringent specifications,” said the USDEC report.
“In 2012, US suppliers demonstrated they are recognising the need to meet stringent specs. Global supply and demand trends suggest they will have the opportunity.”
Steps to seize the market
The growth of the middle class in emerging markets such as China, and the resulting increase in disposable income has been pinpointed as the driving force behind global dairy consumption and demand growth.
This emerging market demand has up to now mainly been satisfied by exports from Europe, Australia and Fonterra-dominated New Zealand.
But according to USDEC, European and Australasian exports will not be able to keep-up with the constantly increasing demand – “leaving the food open to the United States and others.”
“The US industry is positioned to become a larger global player, as long as it takes the proper steps to seize the market,” said the USDEC report.