Top Export Markets for Milk, Cheese & Dairy Goods

Mufaddal K.

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If you are a dairy products producer looking to expand internationally, identifying the right countries to target internationally can be difficult.  This article analyzes import volumes for these products for different countries between 2012 and 2016.  Based on this analysis we identify the fastest growing and largest export markets for these products to help you prioritize your international expansion strategies.


The data in this analysis is from the International Trade Centre (ITC).  It is limited to the following product categories as categorized by the ITC:

Product Group 0401 (Milk and cream, not concentrated nor containing added sugar or other sweetening matter)

Product Group 0402 (Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter)

Product Group 0404 (Whey, products consisting of natural milk constituents)

Product Group 0405 (Butter, incl. dehydrated butter and ghee, and other fats and oils derived from milk; dairy spreads)

Product Group 0406 (Cheese and curd)




Dairy Products Imports Analysis by Region



We can see that the largest import market for these products is Europe & Central Asia (approximately US$ 32 billion in 2016) .  However average annual import growth between 2012 and 2016 was actually negative in this region.  This means entering the market and gaining share would be quite difficult.  A similar story is true for East Asia and the Middle East which both saw negative year over year import growth.  North America is the only region which showed strong positive import growth during this time period.  Although volume is limited in North America, targeting this region could be easier. 


Targeting countries in your own region of the world first is sometimes the easiest way to start growing intentionally.  We now focus on each one of these regions individually to understand what countries might be your best targets for international expansion.  High import volume and high year over year import growth are two metrics you want to continue focusing on when looking at countries within a specific region.




Dairy Products Imports Analysis for East Asia & Pacific Countries



Within East Asia & Pacific, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.  Most of these countries saw negative import growth with the exception of Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea.  In addition, Taiwan also saw positive import growth during this period although import volume was more limited.




Dairy Products Imports Analysis for Europe & Central Asia Countries



Within Europe & East Asia, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Russia and Spain.  All of these had negative import growth making entry into these countries more difficult.  The countires in this region with positive year over year import growth were Poland, Romania, Croatia, Azerbiajan and Georgia.  Most of these countries however had relatively smaller import volumes.




Dairy Products Imports Analysis for Latin America & Caribbean Countries



Within Latin America & Caribbean, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela.  Import growth in these countries however has been negative.  The countries with attractive import growth in this region include Chile, El Salvador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.




Dairy Products Imports Analysis for Middle East & North Africa Countries



Within the Middle East & North Africa, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Egypt, Oman and Kuwait.  Most of these countries had negative growth in imports with the exception of Kuwait.  The only countries in this region with more attrative year over year import growth are Bahrain, Israel and Djibouti.




Dairy Products Imports Analysis for North America Countries



Within North America, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are the United States and Canada.  Both also have strong year over year growth with imports in the United States growing especially fast.  




Dairy Products Imports Analysis for South Asia Countries



Within South Asia, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are Sri Lanka and Pakistan.  Pakistan had quite strong year over year growth in imports as well.  In addition, the Maldives and Bhutan have had high growth in imports although limited volume.




Dairy Products Imports Analysis for Sub-Saharan Africa Countries



Within Sub-Saharan Africa, the countries with the highest volume of imports in 2016 are Nigeria, Angola, South Africa and Mauritius.  Import growth in all of these countries however has been negative.  The countries with attractive import growth in this region are Kenya, Guinea, Madagascar and Ethiopia.  Import volume in these coutnries however was quite limited.




Getting Serious About Expanding Internationally?


Analyzing data is the first step to building a strategic plan for international expansion.  Once you've identified your potential target countries for expansion, you can use our online platform to find local partners in those countries.  Learn more about our platform here and then signup to add your products, set your partnership terms and review partnership offers you'll start receiving from local partners within a few hours.