USDEC ushers in strategic plan to grow US dairy exports 5% by 2021

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Rising global demand for cheese will help US dairy achieve a 5% increase in exports by 2021, Vilsack said.  ©iStock/Rob3rt82
Rising global demand for cheese will help US dairy achieve a 5% increase in exports by 2021, Vilsack said. ©iStock/Rob3rt82

Related tags: Dairy exports, Milk

USDEC has introduced a plan to increase US dairy exports by 5% as volume growth of exports has hit a plateau in recent years.

The plan dubbed “The Next 5%”​ aims to increase export volume, which sits at about 15% of US milk supply to 20% by 2021, according to USDEC CEO and president Tom Vilsack.

US dairy exports currently contribute roughly $15bn to the US economy and support 42,000 US dairy farmers, Vilsack said.

“To sustain the benefits that exports bring to this nation, they need to grow,”​ Vilsack penned in the USDEC blog.

“Looking ahead, we need even more coordination between USDEC and our members (co-ops/processors and traders).”

Demand for milk powder and cheese

USDEC believes the demand for US dairy exports will only increase as the rising middle class population in Asia and the rest of the world will contribute to global trade of milk powder and dry whey volumes by more than 1 million tons by 2021.

“Demand for other dairy ingredients—milk protein concentrate, lactose and specialized products like lactoferrin and alpha-lactalbumin—will rise by more than 100,000 tons,” ​Vilsack wrote.

Cheese is another growth opportunity for US dairy exports, with demand for natural cheese in food service and retail projected to rise by more than 500,000 tons by 2021, according to USDEC.

The US is well positioned to take advantage of the increase in global demand for cheese, according to Vilsack.

“An ample, rising milk supply and a competitive, evolving product portfolio put the U.S. dairy industry in position to capture significant shares of those additional ingredient and cheese volumes,”​ he said.

Strategy to increase global dairy demand

USDEC will also work on increasing global demand for US dairy exports through supporting research into dairy nutrition and communicating positive health links to consumers, governments, and aid organizations.

“The more we can facilitate the understanding of milk’s benefits and the enjoyment of dairy products here and abroad, the more consumers will gravitate toward dairy,” ​Vilsack added.  

“It is particularly important to address younger people to improve the chances that they will continue to utilize milk and dairy products as they age.”

USDEC also aims to facilitate sales of dairy by ensuring access to key international markets such as the EU and Canada where they have faced the most resistance.

“We continue to fight European Union efforts to restrict the use of common cheese names and Canada’s actions to block U.S. dairy exports, and to preserve the trade framework with Mexico that has delivered tremendous U.S. dairy export growth,” ​he said. 

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