EU25: value-added dairy to offer gains

Related tags Milk

As 10 countries prepare themselves for accession to the European
Union in April, a new report reveals food manufacturers entering,
and already present in, these countries might want to start pushing
high value dairy products.

Meat and dairy consumption generally faced a sharp decline during the early '90s in most accession countries. During that time, meat and dairy consumption declined by 10-20 per cent and fell significantly below the per capita consumption in the EU-15, writes the EU-commissioned report by the Network of Independent Experts and the Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).

According to their findings, the structure of meat consumption changed significantly. Beef and mutton consumption declined sharply while that of pork and, especially, poultry developed positively.

Milk consumption also fell, and ?with some exceptions - did not recover in the late '90s, but demand increased for high value products, like cheese and fresh milk. A demand that is still buoyant, say the report's authors.

According to the report, the determinants and effects of changes in meat consumption patterns are income and the related effects of consumption away from home as well as growing convenience, prices and health consciousness. Less powerful in their decision making are environmental concerns.

Sheep, pig and poultry meat are considered 'trendy? whereas health concerns and convenience have a strong impact on dairy products that are partly seen as substitutes for meat products, continues the report.

Cashing in on the growing diet and health trend, fruit and vegetables are also identified as a growth area by the report​. "Fruit and vegetable products will increasingly substitute products with high fat content and continuously expand its position in the consumption basket of consumers in the accession and candidate countries,"​ writes the report.

Underpinning the market growth opportunities are expanding incomes. According to the report, the expected positive income trends are currently running twice as high as in the EU15 on average.

"This will contribute to a considerable market expansion for white meats, high value dairy products, food preparations and fruits and vegetables,"​ concludes the report.

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