Cheese dairy dominance faces emerging market challenges

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ice cream, Dairy product, Dairy products, Milk

Cheese continues to dominate growing global dairy product demand, which has risen by 15 per cent to 40.9 million tonnes in the last five years, though the product’s dominance may yet be challenged, suggests a new report.

Emerging markets like Australasia and the Middle East have played a major role in expanding and shifting demand for specific dairy goods, according to market analyst Zenith international.

Zenith dairy market intelligence manager Esther Renfrew said that while all products studied in the report, which looked at cheeses, yoghurts and ice cream, had all grown in terms of sales volumes, changes were afoot in the industry.

"Spoonable yogurt has seen the greatest growth over the past five years at 23 per cent,”​ she stated. “Ice cream volume has also advanced swiftly by 18 per cent.”

However, despite the impact of these emerging markets, Zenith said that cheese still lead the dairy sector in terms of market share, amounting to 39 per cent of industry output with 18.2m tonnes of the product being consumed during 2008.

According to the group’s study, ice cream was deemed to be the second most popular product segment worldwide, reflecting 30 per cent of total dairy demand or 14.3m tonnes. Spoonable yoghurt consumption was at 9.9m tonnes over the year, representing 21 per cent of volume.

Challenges ahead

Looking ahead, Zenith said that it expected ice cream consumption to rise by 10 per cent to 51.8m tonnes by 2012. The analyst added that demand for spoonable yogurt products could be up by 16 per cent over the same period.

Factor’s key to achieving this growth for the industry are likely to revolve around meeting increased consumer interest for functional products, driven by higher populations of prosperous consumers, according to the analyst.

The study suggests that government policy and marketing regarding the perception of dairy products, particularly regarding environmental sustainability, will also be crucial.

Market specifics

For all the growth potential expected in the market over the coming years, Zenith added that there had been some difficulties for certain products in some specific international markets.

“There are only two markets where volume and consumption per person decreased during the review period – fromage frais in West Europe and ice cream in North America,” ​stated the group.

Similarly the analyst added that in Middle Eastern markets, spoonable yoghurt was more popular with consumers that cheese, while ice cream similarly dominated demand in Asia and Australia.

In looking ahead, Zenith conceded that rising costs and climate change were expected to exacerbate uncertainty in regards to the supply chain.

Related topics: Markets, Emerging Markets, Cheese

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