The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • Research shows U.S. dairy exports are positioned for success in Southeast Asia

    By Rick Ortman June 16, 2023

    U.S. dairy farmers on an educational mission to Southeast Asia observed what USDEC’s Strategic Insights team recently outlined in a data-based overview of the region. 

    Hero image 1.5 for Southeast Asia snapshot (506 × 303px) (1)

    Seven U.S. dairy farmers on a recent educational mission to Southeast Asia witnessed what a members-only USDEC Strategic Insights team briefing on the region had concluded: 

    Positive perceptions of U.S. dairy among consumers and customers, coupled with a growing economy and population, make the region primed for continued expansion. 

    The research report, "U.S. Dairy Exporter Briefing on Southeast Asia, " is available for download at no charge for USDEC members with a USDEC website login. It includes custom USDEC research on the issue of sustainability among more than 12,000 consumers.

    The briefing points out:

    Southeast Asia is home to some of the world's fastest-growing economies. This rapid growth has translated to increased prosperity and urbanization, leading to a surge in consumer spending. Rising household incomes paired with evolving diets and busier lifestyles continue to support bright prospects for dairy demand. 

    Countries in the region are largely reliant on imports of dairy products and ingredients, and the U.S. is a critical supplier to this region. 

    From June 2-10, I had the opportunity to accompany the dairy farmers and other USDEC staff in Singapore. Larry Hancock, USDEC’s Chairman of the Board, expressed confidence that U.S. dairy farmers have the supply and know-how to meet the region's demand. 

     “The U.S. is stepping up to meet the dairy needs of Southeast Asia by ensuring high-quality U.S. milk is available for producing delicious, nutritious and functional dairy products and ingredients on a competitive and consistent basis,” said Hancock, a Texas dairy farmer, in a USDEC news release 

    “U.S. dairy farmers produce more milk per cow and more components per liter of milk – such as butterfat, protein and other skimmed solids – than any other country, thanks to impressive technological innovations, improvements in genetics and feeding optimization.”   

    The United States held a 28% import market share in Southeast Asia in 2022, up nearly 5 percentage points since 2019.

    While economic challenges and commercial factors have dented U.S. dairy exports to the region in 2023, the U.S., with its commitment and investment in the region, remains primed for success in Southeast Asia, especially as demand recovers.

    USDEC has made major investments in the region. In 2020, USDEC opened the state-of-the-art U.S. Center for Dairy Excellence (U.S. CDE), a Singapore-based education hub and meeting space. Our U.S. delegation gained a close-up, all-encompassing view of the center.  

    The center will help address a shift in consumer demand toward healthier food and beverage products. The trend has led to a surge in health and wellness-focused food and beverage products in Southeast Asia. This includes energy drinks, protein bars and other products that are designed to boost energy, improve focus and provide vitamins and minerals. 

    Research by the Strategic Insights Team showed that an impressive 90% of Southeast Asian dairy importers say they are satisfied with the U.S. as a supplier. 

    “This year, U.S. dairy suppliers are facing some headwinds in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, due in part to inflation and heightened competition," said Krysta Harden, USDEC President and CEO, in the news release.

    "Even with challenging market conditions, we want to show that we are here for the long-term to work together and inspire innovation success that drives mutual long-term growth.”

    USDEC's Strategic Insights team published, and our farmers observed, that whatever short-term challenges exist, the United States is uniquely positioned to take advantage of long-term population growth and dairy demand in Southeast Asia. 

    Rick Ortman is the Senior Vice President of USDEC's Strategic Insights team. He accompanied dairy farmers on a recent mission to Southeast Asia. Experience the day-to-day activities of the mission to Southeast Asia in this travelogue

    Southeast Asia Research & Data
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