Steady rise in milk consumption set to continue

7 January 2010

Global consumption of liquid milk products will continue to grow by an average of 2.2% a year until 2012, according to a forecast published by Swedish-Swiss packaging manufacturer Tetra Pak. Most of this growth is expected to occur in emerging markets such as China. 

Tetra Pak issues a twice-yearly outlook of developments in the dairy market. The latest bulletin states that consumption of milk and sweetened dairy products in developed markets such as Europe and the US fell by 1.2% in 2009, contrasting with a worldwide growth in consumption of 1.3%. Consumption is growing especially strongly in emerging markets.

‘Although the recession has affected many sectors, consumption of milk and other liquid dairy products has remained relatively stable,’ says Dennis Jönsson, CEO of the Tetra Pak Group. ‘Milk is a healthy, nutritious and affordable basic food which is consumed on a daily basis by 44% of the world population.’

Opportunities through long-life products and innovation
The overall decline in the consumption of liquid milk in developed markets such as Europe and the US is likely to be offset by a rise in sub-segments of those same markets. In particular, demand for unrefrigerated long-life milk products is expected to grow over the coming years, according to Tetra Pak. This demand is driven by four trends: health, convenience, indulgence and cost-consciousness.

Because it is more difficult for dairy manufacturers to boost consumption in markets that are already developed, they must rely on innovation to make further headway, says Tetra Pak. Individual consumption in these markets is much higher compared to emerging markets. For example, in Ireland per capita consumption of refrigerated and unrefrigerated dairy products is 160 litres, compared with just 19 litres per person in China.

Global growth forecast
In 2009, the total market for liquid dairy came to around 263 billion litres. This is up 4 billion litres from the end of 2008. The lion’s share of this growth is taking place in emerging markets. This is because populations and incomes are growing fastest in these countries, and liquid dairy products there are still innovative in nature.