The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • Export Opportunities (Video): Middle East and North Africa Still Ripe for Long-Range Growth

    By USDEC December 1, 2015

    Our video series takes us to a region where young consumers are driving demand for high-quality cheeses and other dairy imports. 

    Even as global dairy markets struggle to recover, opportunities exist. This series from USDEC international representatives identifies some of those opportunities for U.S. dairy exporters. 

    In this installment, USDEC's Nina Bakht discusses the Middle East and North Africa market where the U.S. has made important progress, but more work lies ahead.  

     (Full video will display on mobile devices when started.)  

    TRANSCRIPT: There is a lot of potential out there that is still untapped.

    What opportunities exist for U.S. dairy products in the Middle East and North Africa?

    I see great opportunities for U.S. dairy products, U.S. dairy members. There's a lot of potential out there that is still untapped. The dynamics are all there that show promise. You have high population growth, a big chunk of which are youth. You have high purchasing power. At the same time, there is the diversification, diversification of the economies so that there is a lot more going on in terms of food manufacturing and processing; the retail segments are growing, the foodservice sections are growing, so just a lot of opportunity and more channels for pushing more U.S. dairy products into the region. There are a lot of dairy products that were never there a long time ago―different formats, a lot of flavors, some local flavors, some traditional flavors, a lot of innovation, different kinds of dairy desserts, dairy drinks, a lot of products that incorporate dairy. So a lot has changed, and the youth is open to this and there is a demand for this variety and high quality of dairy and food products. So that’s helped a lot to consume more dairy in recent years. Also, there's this new awareness about the importance of dairy in the daily diet. People are now trying to consume a more healthy food on a daily basis, one of those being milk-based, dairy-based products. So that’s what’s changed recently.  

    Middle_East-Nina_Bakht-455316-editedAre there opportunities that we might describe as “low-hanging fruit”?

    High-quality cheeses. We have been working very hard to introduce this into our markets and people are more familiar with U.S. product offering high-quality cheeses, which was not the case before because people just were not aware what the U.S. had to offer―the number of varieties and flavors and all of that. So now we are putting great effort into establishing a supplier base for those products.

    When you speak to buyers in your region, what do you tell them?

    I try to convince the buyers when I talk to them that the U.S. is and should be considered a long-term committed supplier to overseas markets like our Middle East and North Africa markets. It just takes some more collaboration, more coordination, more face time, more communication and more exchange of information between the two sides—strong relationships between the two sides that will go a long way towards enhancing the volume and the value of U.S. exports to our region. 

    Learn more: Related articles on the Middle East/North Africa have appeared in the  U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog:

    The “Dairy Export Opportunities” series includes these eight videos:

    Each video can be reused without permission. To share this video on social media, click the buttons at the top and bottom of this post. To put on your own site, see the video on YouTube and click the "share" button. To request a DVD, contact us at or

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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.  

    About USDEC Middle East & North Africa
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