The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • FAQ 7: What U.S. dairy products get exported and where are they shipped?

    By USDEC June 21, 2021

    For National Dairy Month, the U.S. Dairy Export Council is answering the questions our farmer-funders frequently ask. This is FAQ No. 7 in a 10-part series. 

    Editor's note: We are now offering all 10 FAQs and USDEC's answers bundled in a single, easy-to-read document featuring data, examples and analysis. Click the red button below, fill out a simple form and you'll get the report in an instant.


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    FAQ 7: What U.S. dairy products get exported and where are they shipped?


    Nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NFDM/SMP), whey products, cheese and lactose make up the bulk of products exported by the United States.  

    In 2020, U.S. NFDM/SMP exports grew 16%, topping 800,000 metric tons for the first time, and China's renewed whey demand (part of its efforts to rebuild a pig herd decimated by African Swine Fever in 2019) helped drive whey product sales up 24%.  

    Chart 7 picture3

    USDEC categorizes the places where we export as “markets.” A market can be a country or a region. Mexico and Southeast Asia have been the two top U.S. export markets in recent years. 

    Chart 7 picture4 (2)

    The dollar value of U.S. dairy exports to Southeast Asia grew 36% in 2020, fueled by strong demand for NFDM/SMP. The Phase 1 U.S.-China trade agreement and robust whey demand helped lift Chinese import value by 44%.  

    Other markets showing significant growth in 2020 were the Middle East/North Africa, Japan, South Korea and South America.  

    Historically, Mexico has been our No. 1 market.

    When the one-two punch of recession and pandemic curtailed Mexico’s dairy importing capacity last year, it could have been a difficult year if U.S. dairy exporters were dependent on Mexico alone.

    Thanks in part to USDEC’s global market development, a diversified U.S. export portfolio mitigated the risks. The gains in Southeast Asia exceeded the losses in Mexico, leading to a record year for U.S. dairy exports, despite the pandemic. 

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    The U.S. Dairy Export Council fosters collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to enhance global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients. USDEC is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff. How to republish this post.  

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