Bord Bia eyes dairy export growth in Malaysia and the Philippines

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT

Ireland's grass-based dairy is considered more nutritious and sustainable than that produced by conventional indoor-farmed dairy cows and is a key selling point for exporters. Image: Getty/Uwe Moser
Ireland's grass-based dairy is considered more nutritious and sustainable than that produced by conventional indoor-farmed dairy cows and is a key selling point for exporters. Image: Getty/Uwe Moser

Related tags Irish dairy Ireland Malaysia Philippines Powder Cheese Ingredients grass-fed dairy Nutrition

Malaysia and the Philippines are growing markets for Irish dairy, where butter, cheese, and powder exports remain strong.

Bord Bia, the Irish state agency responsible for promoting food, drink and horticulture trade in Ireland and abroad, has launched a campaign to drive dairy sales in Malaysia and the Philippines. Co-funded with the European Union, the campaign forms part of a wider €3.2/$3.4m export push in South East Asia, which Bord Bia launched in 2022 in Japan and Vietnam.

Malaysia and the Philippines have been identified by the Irish government as high-growth potential markets for dairy. According to Bord Bia’s market research, Malaysia is set to remain a major dairy importer, since its domestic milk supply amounts to only 5-6%. The country is a major mozzarella importer, behind only China, South Korea and Japan, and there’s also been growth in cheddar imports, though this remains a small retail-oriented opportunity. Key export commodities are powders and ingredients, particularly SMP, whey and WMP.

SMP also dominates the Philippines’ dairy imports according to Bord Bia’s market intelligence, but there has also been growth across whey, cheese, liquid milk and FFMP.

Minister Heydon in Kuala Lumpur opening a dairy seminar organised by Bord Bia as part of an EU co funded campaign. Image: Bord Bia

Jack Hogan, Bord Bia’s market specialist for EU Programmes Asia, explained that exporters and Bord Bia “have long recognised the importance of Malaysia and the Philippines as growth markets for sustainable dairy ingredients.”

He said: “Through these campaigns, we can work together to strengthen the business relationships Irish dairy exporters have formed with stakeholders in Malaysia and the Philippines and nurture new ones well into the future. Through this campaign we hope to drive €15 million [$16.05m, ed.] in dairy export growth to Malaysia and the Philippines.”

Irish minister Martin Heydon who is responsible for R&D, farm safety and new market development, added during the campaign launch: “As a result of the campaign investment of €3.2 million across the five countries, Irish dairy exports are forecast to grow by nearly €60 million [$64.2m, ed.] in South East Asia by 2025. This campaign is aligned with the goals of the Irish agri-food sector's ‘Food Vision 2030’ strategy, which sees Ireland as a world leader in Sustainable Food Systems.”

The campaign, which launched in April 2022 and runs into 2024, reached its halfway point in October. In the last year Bord Bia reported it attended three international tradeshows and conducted eight technical dairy seminars - including one held in the Philippines - which offered insights on how quality, safety and sustainability are at the heart of dairy production in Ireland and Europe.

At the same time, the organization’s Future of Dairy in South East Asia report showed that population growth in the region – likely by 100 million by 2050 – could drive demand for adult nutrition products.

Patrick Lim, Bord Bia’s market specialist for South East Asia, said: “We know from our market intelligence that there will be an increased demand for adult dairy nutrition in the region in the coming years, representing an opportunity for Irish dairy exporters to grow their operations in these markets. We look forward to utilising this EU campaign to complement Bord Bia’s suite of activities in Malaysia and the Philippines to raise awareness of premium, sustainably produced dairy ingredients from Ireland. Under this EU campaign, awareness of European dairy is forecasted to grow by 15% in Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines by 2025.”

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