The latest edition of the "Agricultural Outlook 2023-2032" published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) highlights the world's appetite for dairy products. This demand is driven particularly by India, Pakistan, and several African countries. It predicts a bright future for the dairy sector.

Dairy products and cheeses are not about to disappear from eating habits around the world.

This is emphasized in the latest edition of "The Agricultural Outlook 2023-2032". This nearly 400-page report is jointly published by the OECD and FAO. It analyzes trends across all geographical markets and the evolution of various agricultural sectors, including dairy.

The report highlights that milk and dairy products are vital sources of nutrition and provide livelihoods for millions of people worldwide. With rising incomes and population growth, the volume of dairy products consumed is expected to increase in the medium term.

The report points out that the demand for dairy products is concentrated mainly in India, Pakistan, and several African countries. Globally, per capita consumption is expected to increase by 0.8% per year, reaching 15.7 kg (in dry extract equivalent, excluding the water content of milk or dairy products) by 2032. The majority of the milk produced is consumed in the form of fresh dairy products, unprocessed or minimally processed (pasteurized or fermented), whose share in consumption is expected to increase globally over the next ten years.

In low- and middle-income countries, fresh products account for more than two-thirds of the average per capita dairy consumption (in dry extract), while consumers in high-income countries buy more processed products. Globally, about 30% of the world's milk production is expected to be processed into butter, cheese, whole or skimmed milk powder, or whey powder over the next ten years.
Dairy tray: yogurt, milk.

Cheeses in Europe and North America, butter in Asia, and powdered milk in Africa

Cheese holds a special place in the consumption of processed products, particularly true in Europe and North America. Per capita consumption is expected to continue increasing during the 2023-2032 period analyzed. The report indicates that Africa should also see an increase in cheese consumption, as well as powdered milk. According to the OECD/FAO, it is the product with the most exponential growth on the continent.

In contrast, in Asia, butter is the most consumed processed dairy product, accounting for nearly half of the total consumption of processed dairy products in terms of dry extract. It is also expected to record the highest increase in consumption in the coming years.

The report indicates that global dairy trade mainly involves processed products. China is expected to remain the leading importer of dairy products, despite a significant increase in its own production.

Southeast Asia should also see a stronger demand due to rising living standards and westernizing eating habits. The OECD/FAO notes, for example, that the development of out-of-home dining is a factor in cheese consumption, particularly in the fast-food sector (hamburgers and pizzas, among others).

Russia, Mexico, and the countries of North Africa and the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, will remain significant net importers of dairy products. In the medium term, the European Union, the United States, and New Zealand will remain the main exporters of processed dairy products and would represent about 65% of cheese exports, 70% of whole milk powder exports, 70% of butter exports, and 79% of skimmed milk powder exports in 2032.

All this indicates excellent growth prospects for the dairy and cheese sector. A development that professionals will undoubtedly discuss during the upcoming Cheese and Dairy Products Fair, from February 25 to 27, 2024, in Paris.