Export Market Continues to Offer Long-term Opportunity

September 10, 2009 07:00 PM

Despite this year's drop in U.S. dairy exports, the global market still offers long-term opportunity, the U.S. Dairy Export Council's (USDEC) Marc Beck says.


"When world economic growth returns, so will the dairy demand that's driven markets in recent years,” notes Beck in USDEC's "Cheese Market News” released today.


Although the recession has reduced incomes and, in turn, cut purchases, 2009's export slump is actually just a blip in the long-term export outlook, says Beck, who is USDEC's senior vice president of export marketing.


He points to 2008's record export levels, when $3.83 billion worth of U.S. dairy products were shipped, representing 10.8% of the milk solids produced in the U.S. He believes that performance -- and the past decade of export expansion -- offered a glimpse of what's to come.


There are "virtually unanimous projections that, in the years ahead, worldwide demand will grow faster than available supply,” he says. Traditional exporters like Europe and Oceania will be unable to fulfill that demand.


Dedication to the longer-term growth opportunities outside the U.S., along with servicing customers and maintaining innovation "will prepare U.S suppliers for a future in which the dairy industry becomes increasingly globalized,” Beck says.


The industry's long-term commitment to the export market has yielded benefits even now. "Mexico has remained a solid and even growing market in certain key sectors despite global economic troubles, and it stands as a testament to the value of far-sighted market building programs, customer focus and commitment by U.S. dairy suppliers,” Beck notes.


Cheese has been "the star of the show” among exports to Mexico, he says, as U.S. suppliers aggressively serviced the Mexican market and attempted to align their products with customer needs. U.S. cheese exports to Mexico grew 13% in the first half of 2009 – "a stellar figure given that U.S. cheese exports to the rest of the world fell 43% over the same period,” says Beck.


Read Beck's report in full at: /files/Sep09%20Toolkit%20reprint.pdf.


Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at cmerlo@farmjournal.com.

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