The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • Top 10 U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog Posts of 2015

    By USDEC December 31, 2015

    Hits from our blog's first year include research summaries, concise market data analysis and the story of how four U.S. farmers wowed dairy buyers in Singapore.

    It was a tough year for global dairy markets but a rewarding one for The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog and the people who work on it, including me, the blog’s editor. Highlights include:

    • We birthed the blog in February with a stated goal to provide global dairy market analysis, research and news in bite-sized portions that can be easily viewed on any mobile device
    • We created content, much of it culled and repurposed from more in-depth USDEC research, for our primary target audiences: USDEC members and the broader U.S. dairy industry
    • We kept our ultimate mission in mind, to disseminate dairy exporting intelligence that helps our industry increase the volume and value of U.S. Dairy exports

    top_ten_squareUSDEC has other communications platforms, and a recent survey of our members indicates they are well-read. This includes our redesigned website,, and our members-only newsletter, Global Dairy eBrief.

    Then why a blog? The blog format is more accessible, personal and timely than other platforms—especially if you subscribe to get updates sent instantly to your inbox.

    What? You haven’t subscribed yet? Learn more here. Also, as we head into 2016, spread the word to people you know in the U.S. dairy industry who are interested in exports.

    Here are your top 10 posts of 2015, measured by page views, in descending order:

    10. Eight Reasons Ireland Won't Boost Milk Production 50% in 5 Years


    Based on a USDEC research report, we said EU milk caps were lifting Irish spirits, but that clouds would block sunny government forecasts. Some in the EU took exception. Ross Christieson, USDEC's senior vice president, market research and analysis, made this provocative and perhaps prophetic statement: “In the dairy industry, people sometimes view volume as king. But if volume does not prove profitable are the Irish farmers kings?"

    Further reading: "European Union: The Impact of the Removal of Milk Quotas in 2015," a research report by the U.S. Dairy Export Council you can request here.

    9. Algeria, Egypt, Morocco Ripest North African Markets for U.S. Dairy


    U.S. exports were down overall in 2015, but some markets opened up, with encouraging remaining upside, including these three countries in North Africa:

    • Algeria imports the most dairy products of the three nations, and is the No. 3 whole milk powder (WMP) importer and No. 4 skim milk powder (SMP) buyer in the world
    • Egypt has the largest population of the three nations, and is building a reputation as a regional supplier of processed cheese and other foods that utilize dairy ingredients
    • Morocco has the fastest-growing economy of the three nations and is a growing importer of cheese, butter and MPC to manufacture processed cheese, yogurt and other products

    Further reading: “North Africa: Dairy Markets 2015,” a research report by USDEC you can request here.

    8. Reasons the United States is No. 1 in Cheese


    U.S. Dairy was the No. 1 exporter of cheese in 2014, according to the latest available data when this post was published. New Zealand rose to No. 1 in 2015, partly because New Zealand changed its product mix to emphasize cheese.

    According to the latest Dairy: World Markets and Trade report from USDA (page 15), New Zealand will export an estimated 325,000 metric tons of cheese in 2015 and the U.S. will export 315,000.

    Despite the closeness of the battle to be No. 1, the following factors argue in favor of the United States as the overall cheese leader:

    • The United States has the largest supply of cow’s milk in the world
    • Production is year-round, which guarantees consistent product availability
    • An abundance of land, providing an unrestrained capacity to grow as global demand increases
    • Ongoing investments in research and technology
    • State-of-the-art production facilities
    • Great-tasting cheese, as evidenced by medals at the 2014 World Cheese Awards and the 2014 World Championship Cheese Contest, accounting for 67% of the total medal count

    Further reading: USDEC Seminars Educate Global Buyers About U.S. Cheese

    7. How Russia's Embargo of EU is Hurting U.S. Dairy Exports

    Russia-706535-editedJust as New Zealand had to change its product mix due to reduced demand from China, the European Union found itself in a similar situation with the Russian dairy embargo.

    For the first seven months of 2014, prior to the start of the embargo, EU dairy suppliers were exporting an average of 18,604 tons of cheese and 2,510 tons of butterfat per month to Russia.

    With the loss of their biggest cheese customer, EU suppliers channeled rising milk production into SMP and butter. They aggressively pursued SMP buyers in Southeast Asia and the Middle East/North Africa, which intensified competition for U.S. suppliers in those key markets.  

    Further reading: New Zealand and EU Shift Dairy Product Mixes

    6. China Imports of Whole Milk Powder Lowest Since 2012


    This blog post, published on June 2, was a harbinger of things to come.

    China dairy imports were down nearly 40 percent in the first four months of the year—the equivalent of pushing back about 562,000 tons of milk per month. Put another way, that’s the same as if milk production from the five major exporters (EU-28, United States, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina) increased by 2.4 percent this year.

    As the year came to an end, the USDA estimated (on pages 19 and 21 of this report) that China’s SMP imports will be down 22.9 percent and WMP imports down 53.8 percent from 2014.

    Further reading: Dairy Export Opportunities Series: China

    5. Global Dairy Markets May not Fully Rebound Until 2017


    Readers were understandably concerned about the global dairy recession and they turned to USDEC as their trusted source of information to navigate choppy waters.

    This was especially evident with the USDEC Global Outlook Webinar. More than 800 people registered for the event, and those who attended on Dec. 1 got a candid assessment from USDEC market experts Alan Levitt and Marc Beck.  

    “What we have today is most likely what we will have for 2016—a market looking for equilibrium, an equilibrium that is sustainable for the entire supply chain,” noted Beck, USDEC executive vice president, strategy and insights. “It may be 2017 before we return to a scenario where supply and demand are more closely aligned."

    Watch the full webinar: The archived version of the USDEC Global Market Outlook is now available for viewing online. If you are registered already, you may view the recording by logging in with your email address here. If you did not register, you can still do so, and then watch the recording. Follow this link.

    4. Global Dairy Market Rebound Not Expected Until mid-2016 at Earliest


    An earlier webinar—held in early September—offered this blunt assessment: “We don’t think real recovery is at hand.” 

    Unrelenting milk production growth and heavy inventories will continue to weigh on the global dairy market, forestalling a meaningful price recovery until at least mid-2016, according to USDEC’s Marc Beck.

    Further reading: Six Factors Sure to Influence U.S. Dairy Exports in 2016

    3. Six Growth Drivers for U.S. Dairy in Southeast Asia


    In a tough year, a two-day U.S. Dairy Business Conference in Singapore provided a needed boost.

    More than 100 foodservice operators and dairy and food processing companies from Southeast Asia connected with U.S. dairy suppliers at the USDEC event. It was an important group to reach because Southeast Asia is particularly fertile for dairy export growth. In this post, USDEC identified six reasons why:

    • Booming population
    • Steady economies
    • Thriving food manufacturing industry
    • Foodservice expansion
    • Youthful demographics
    • Healthier lifestyles

    Further reading: Editor’s Advice to U.S. Dairy Exporters: “Be There”

    2. 10 Shareable Charts Showing Impact of U.S Dairy Exports


    With this collection of charts, readers saw an opportunity to share the growth story of U.S. dairy exports via social media.

    One of the charts depicted a 39 percent rise in the value of U.S. dairy exports from 2012 and 2014.

    Curious? Check out the charts—and feel free to share them with others!

    Learn more: See the video, Why U.S. Dairy will be the World’s Most Dependable Supplier

    1. U.S. Dairy Farmers Move Audience of more than 100 Importers in Singapore


    As we noted earlier, The U.S. Dairy Business Conference in Singapore was a bright spot in a challenging year.

    And the highlight within the highlight was a presentation by four U.S. dairy farmers, demonstrating their commitment to quality, animal care, the environment and relationships.

    Supported by vivid photography, the farmers won the hearts and minds of attendees.

    Pictured in this photo on the right, Jane Lim is marketing director of Wee Hoe Cheng, a 65-year-old company that distributes food ingredients throughout Southeast Asia from its base in Singapore. She said she was so moved by the stories and pictures of the U.S. dairy farmers that, “I felt my heart go out to them and their families as if I were on their farms."

    Jane Lim said the the presentation's theme of "U.S. Family Farm Stories" resonates in Southeast Asia because a "commitment to the future through the continuity of family is a very important value to us." WHC, co-owned by Jane Lim and her husband, is a family-oriented business with 30 employees, five of them family members. That includes Jane Lim's daughter, sales manager De Min Lim (photo, left), who attended the conference with her mother. 

    Since it was the No. 1 story of the year, our readers obviously found it compelling, as well. Traffic was fueled by U.S. dairy farmers sharing and "liking" the post on Facebook. 

    Watch and hear their stories: We turned the U.S. farmers' Singapore presentations into videos, focusing on the topics of quality, animal care, the environment and relationships.

    Subscribe to the U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog       

    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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