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Global Dairy eBrief
Feb. 19, 2015, Volume 22, Issue 7


USDEC launches global and mobile websites for members, customers

USDEC has launched two websites that will benefit members and their global customers. The redesigned and the new were created to provide a more global and mobile experience.

The website “grand opening” is today, with news releases sent to media outlets in the United States and abroad. Members were given advance notice in a Monday email. If you missed that email, you can read it here.

In addition, we recommend a short video on YouTube that visually showcases the sites’ new tools and features.

The United States has become a premier global supplier of dairy products and ingredients, and these two websites reflect the impressive growth, extended reach and increasing sophistication of our more than 120 member companies. Our members and their customers will benefit from a more global and mobile digital experience.

Subscribe to our new U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog

In addition to the two websites, USDEC has a new, fast-paced communications platform for members and the broader U.S. dairy industry interested in exports.

The mission of the U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog is to provide market analysis, research and news at the speed of global business. 


Click charts to view larger images in your web browser.


A rising index means that a competitor’s currency is strengthening against the U.S. dollar. A falling index means that a competitor’s currency is weakening against the dollar. When a competitor’s currency is strengthening against the U.S. dollar (weak US$), exporters in that country expect lower returns from export markets; when a competitor’s currency is weakening against the U.S. dollar (strong US$), exporters in that country expect higher returns from exports markets. Source:


Note: Numbers in parentheses are changes from previous period. Source: USDA and commercial contacts


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This week’s U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog posts:

New Mexican labeling regs take effect June 30, 2015

U.S. dairy suppliers to Mexico have until June 30 to comply with new labeling requirements for all pre-packaged foods, including dairy imports. The rules are aimed at reducing rising obesity levels by clarifying nutritional information for consumers.

The most significant change is the mandate to include a front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition label with information icons on saturated fat, other fat, sugar, sodium and energy (calories) as a percentage of daily nutrients in colored icons. Family packs (including cheeses of 90g or more) need a sixth icon of energy per pack.

The regulations establish specific size and placement requirements for the FOP icons, as well as rounding rules for the numbers displayed inside them. For more details, including answers to frequently asked questions and USDEC advice on ensuring compliance, click here to read Matt McKnight’s blog entry on the rule change. In addition, go to Volume 3: Labeling and Product Standards of the USDEC Export Guide. Additional questions can be directed to Rodrigo Fernandez ( or Veronica Ozaeta ( in USDEC’s Mexico office or Sandra Benson at or 703-528-3049.

Walmart International chief to address USDEC board meeting

Scott Price, chief administration officer of Walmart International and president and CEO of Walmart Asia, will share insights from an extensive career in global business at the USDEC spring Board of Directors and Membership Meeting, March 31-April 1 at Chicago’s Swissôtel. In his current role, Price leads key strategic initiatives for 6,200 Walmart stores in 26 countries outside the United States, including nearly 1,000 Asian units.

He has extensive experience in markets in the Far East. Prior to Walmart, he served as CEO of DHL Express Asia Pacific, president of DHL Express Japan and, over a decade at Coca-Cola, in a national leadership role in Japan and as director and regional manager in China.

Price currently serves as chairman of the National Center for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the only U.S. business association focused exclusively on facilitating American private sector input to the APEC forum. He is also a member of the U.S. India Business Council and serves on the board of trustees for the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Don’t miss Price’s take on the opportunities and challenges facing U.S. suppliers to Asia.

To register for the meeting, click here. To download the preliminary agenda for the conference with the confirmed lineup of trade expert presenters, click here. To make hotel reservations, click here. The discounted room rate deadline is March 9.

Food safety workshop focuses on dairy powder

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy (IC) has offered food safety workshops since 2011. Throughout the history of the series, the organizers have noticed a heavy concentration of questions and a general lack of resources related to dry products. So this year, the IC tapped experts from Leprino Foods, Hilmar Ingredients, Land O’Lakes, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Agri-Mark, Mead Johnson, Nestlé and Commercial Foods Sanitation to share best practices and design a new food safety workshop designed specifically for dairy powder manufacturers.

The course combines lectures with hands-on, interactive exercises and will explore a range of topics, including pathogen control, environmental monitoring, sanitary design, corrective actions and sanitation.

“The workshops are a great way to learn about pathogen controls in a dry manufacturing plant from top experts across the industry,” says Tim Stubbs, VP, product research, DMI. “It’s a unique chance to ask questions in a safe environment and to compare notes with peers who face similar challenges. When it comes to food safety, the dairy industry continues to take a proactive stance to protect consumers. In exit surveys, 100 percent of the Denver food safety workshop’s attendees said they would recommend the class and that it met or exceeded their expectations.”

The IC will hold the dairy-powder-specific workshop twice: in Visalia, Calif., March 24-25; and in Coopersville, Mich., Oct. 13-14. For more details or to register, click here.

Only one booth space left for Seoul Food & Hotel

USDEC has only one booth space remaining for Seoul Food & Hotel, the largest and longest-running international trade show targeting South Korea’s thriving foodservice, hospitality, bakery and supermarket industries. Consumers’ growing familiarity with and taste for cheese is helping drive South Korean demand and imports. In 2014, U.S. cheese shipments to South Korea jumped 44 percent to 71,097 tons. Trends point to continued per capita consumption gains and rising import demand. To reserve your spot at the USDEC booth, contact John Klees at or 703-528-3049. For more on Seoul Food & Hotel, click here.

Whey protein study assesses consumer knowledge, perceptions

From 2011 to 2014, consumer awareness of whey protein grew, but it still lags behind other non-dairy protein sources in terms of familiarity, according to a study commissioned last year by USDEC in conjunction with the Whey Protein Research Consortium. The study, a follow-up to a similar 2011 project, is an effort to collect data to help the industry fine-tune communications and promotions to better target consumers with whey protein messaging and products.

Such data is particularly important as the industry readies a whey protein health claim. The study provided much needed insights on the target audience for such a claim—who they are, where they receive their information, what influences them, etc. It also helped measure misconceptions and fears consumers might have about whey protein and protein in general.

Michael Gromek, DMI director of knowledge and insights, led a 2-hour webinar that presented the results of the research on Feb. 5. That webinar is archived and available to USDEC members by clicking here. To download and play the presentation, enter the username client-usdec and the password yex8wENE. The link expires on April 9, 2015.


GDT posts fifth straight increase

The GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) Price Index jumped 10.1 percent to an average winning price of US$3,366/ton at the Feb. 17 auction, marking the fifth straight auction increase. WMP topped US$3,000/ton for the first time since July 2014, as the average winnings price climbed 13.7 percent to US$3,272/ton.

Unlike the mixed results of the previous auction, the average winning price for all products registered gains: SMP +5.7 percent to US$2,744/ton; cheddar, +16.8 percent to US$3,054/ton; butter, +1.1 percent to US$3,823/ton; AMF, +6.4 percent to US$4,314/ton; buttermilk powder +1.9 percent to US$2,674/ton; and casein, +1.2 percent to US$8,897/ton. Sweet whey powder results were unavailable and lactose did not trade.

Widespread media coverage of moderate drought in parts of New Zealand has caused some concern about tighter supply in the coming months and helped drive this week’s gains. But despite recent auction activity, any claim that the market has turned is still very tenuous. On a global level, the milk supply remains more than plentiful to cover current demand. Even New Zealand’s Federated Farmers cautioned members not to assume farmgate prices were on their way back up. (USDEC staff; GDT; The Dominion Post, 2/19/15)

EU dominates ALIC butter tender

The EU secured 80 percent of Japan’s Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corp. (ALIC) Feb. 17 SBS butter tender. The Netherlands won 718.2 tons, Germany took 600 tons and the UK won 23 tons. New Zealand (288.8 tons) and Argentina (50 tons) accounted for the remainder. All the EU volume was bulk butter; the majority of the Kiwi and Argentine business was the new ALIC specification for imported butter in 1-5kg packages for smaller end users (see Global Dairy eBrief, 1/29/15).

Even though Japanese butter production rose in December and January, and analysts project even stronger growth in February, ALIC forecasts a butter shortage of 3,600 tons this year. Intense competition from buyers on Feb. 17 pushed prices up 12 percent from the previous butter tender on Feb. 5 and would tend to support that assessment. Japanese demand for imported butter remains high. (USDEC Japan office)


Commerce chief seeks solution to West Coast port problems

President Obama sent Labor Secretary Tom Perez to facilitate a resolution to the West Coast contract dispute between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). While the business sector commended the move as an acknowledgement of the situation’s gravity, they also expressed skepticism that the secretary would be able to do much to bring the sides together. A federal mediator working with PMA and ILWU negotiators since January has so far failed to find a compromise, and Perez has no authority to force a resolution. Perez met with both sides starting this Wednesday, and at press time, there was no word of any breakthrough.

Failing the PMA and ILWU reaching an agreement on their own, the only tool the government has to end the conflict is to invoke the Taft-Hartley Act, which would force an 80-day cooling off period. The act was last used by President George W. Bush to reopen the ports in 2002 after a 10-day lockout. President Obama has given no indication whether he would resort to Taft-Hartley, although analysts said they were skeptical he would risk doing so for the fear of losing the support of the labor sector.

This week, negative reports of the port crisis’s impact on U.S. agriculture, manufacturing and retailing escalated. As of Tuesday, after port closures over the holiday weekend, there were more than 50 container ships anchored off the West Coast. After rhetoric intensified the previous week, the federal mediator called for a press blackout, which the ILWU and PMA have since honored. (Reuters, 2/18/15; Journal of Commerce, 2/17/15; Los Angeles Times, 2/17/15; Wall Street Journal, 2/16/15)


USDEC praises bipartisan letter to WIPO on common names

USDEC, NMPF and IDFA hailed a bipartisan letter from eight Senate and House leaders to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) expressing “serious concern” over the lack of participation in a fast-moving process to adopt sweeping revisions to the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin (see Global Dairy eBrief, 10/23/14). Those changes could erode established trademark rights and, most critically, impair the ability of companies around the world—including the United States—to use numerous generic cheese names in export markets.

The letter carries some weight because the eight signatories are the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House committees overseeing trade and intellectual property issues. They strongly urged WIPO to follow past practice by allowing all WIPO member countries to have an equal voice in determining any changes to the Lisbon Agreement. A copy of the Congressional letter can be found at the Consortium for Common Food Names website here. To read the joint USDEC press release, click here. (USDEC staff)


Fonterra commissions Dutch ingredient plant

Fonterra Co-operative Group officially commissioned its new dairy ingredient plant in Heerenveen, Netherlands. The facility, developed in partnership with A-Ware Food Group and working in tandem with A-Ware’s adjacent cheese plant, can produce 5,000 tons of functional whey protein and 25,000 tons of lactose annually. Fonterra is targeting high-value pediatric, maternal and sports nutrition product manufacturers in Europe and around the globe. (Company reports)

Mergers and acquisitions

In what is at least the eighth in an escalating line of buyout offers for Egypt’s Arab Dairy dating back to September 2013, Lactalis unit Al-Nour for Dairy Industries increased its bid to about $52 million ($8.60/share). Egyptian regulators extended the bidding period to Feb. 22 to give rival Pioneers Holding time to raise its offer. (Reuters, 2/15/15)

Company news briefs

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) is considering whether to transfer its Zumbrota, Minn., cheese plant over to its DairiConcepts joint venture with Fonterra. Separately, DFA reported that the joint venture cheese plant it is planning for western Kansas with China’s Yili Group will cost about $235 million (see Global Dairy eBrief, 11/13/14) . . . FrieslandCampina appointed Roelof Joosten as CEO effective June 1, 2015. Joosten replaces Cees ’t Hart, who accepted a new position as president and CEO of Carlsberg Group . . . Shake Shack signed a licensing deal with Sazaby League Ltd. to open 10 units in Japan by 2020, starting with a Tokyo store in 2016. (Company reports; AP, 2/17/15; Red Wing Republican Eagle, 2/12/15; Kansas City Business Journal, 2/11/15)