Developing world dairy boom is sustainable: Fonterra chairman
Speaking to the Irish Independent, van der Heyden noted that increased consumption was being driven by growing middle classes in both countries, in line with World Bank predictions that the size of this class in developing nations will triple to 1.2bn by 2030.
"India's middle class is growing rapidly and this is a country which has always consumed dairy and is now finding it difficult to fulfill demand, so there are opportunities there," he told the paper
And despite the fact that China has no real tradition of dairy product consumption, van der Heyden said he didn't believe an economic downturn would seriously undermine global dairy markets.
He said that dairy was quickly becoming part of local diets in the country, and that the government was backing dairy products as a means of improving nutrition levels and providing revenue streams in rural areas.
van der Heyden predicted a steady outlook for the global dairy sector over the next 3 years, but that given world economic uncertainties "it never pays to be over-confident".
"It has performed well in recent times despite some tough economic conditions and we expect that to continue," he told the paper.
van der Heyden sidestepped a question about whether - given its recent announcement of a joint venture with First Milk in Britain - it was potentially looking to make acquisitions within the Irish dairy sector.