US Looks to Increase Whole Milk Powder Trade

US - In 2011 the Whole Milk Powder (WMP) trade topped two million tons at a value of more than $7 billion. Global demand is sizable and growing, yet the US plays little to no role in meeting that demand, says US Dairy Export Council Executive Vice President, Marc Beck.
calendar icon 9 August 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

He says that this needs to change. "“To be a consistent global supplier, we need to produce what the marketplace wants and where volume opportunities exist ... having a broad product portfolio in the powder segment provides the opportunity to move milk volume into various end-user segments and manage production.”

Over the last 10 years New Zealand has nearly doubled its WMP exports to 1.1 million tons. Argentina and Uruguay have seen their combined export volume rise 52 per cent to more than a quarter-million tons.

China/Hong Kong is the top WMP buyer in the world, with imports rising more than 150 per cent to 370,836 tons from 2002-2011, according to GTIS. Demand in other nations also continues to rise. Algerian WMP imports jumped 68 per cent to 203,126 tons from 2002-2011, while Southeast Asian imports increased 35 per cent to 238,243 tons.

WMP opportunity lies not only in expected rising demand but in existing business, says Mr Beck.

In the past, US dairy manufacturers chose not to pursue WMP markets due to a variety of factors, including US dairy policy and the investment required to produce quality WMP. But the industry mindset is changing.

Several major US WMP projects are currently under consideration. Among them, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) announced earlier this year that it would build an $85 million plant in Fallon, Nevada, capable of making more than 40,000 tons of WMP and other dairy ingredients annually. The company expects to have it up and running by July 2013.

“As global dairy demand expands, the US dairy industry is working to seize opportunities and secure strong positions in target growth markets,” says Mark Korsmeyer, executive vice president of DFA and president of its Global Dairy Products Group.

“At DFA, we believe that the best way for the United States to continue growing its share in these valuable markets is to become a more consistent and more diversified supplier. Whole milk powder is a key product in this effort, as its versatility makes it a valued product with leading customers for applications including drinking milks and nutritional products.”

The DFA project and others stem in part from a USDEC initiative to examine international opportunities for WMP and anhydrous milkfat in 2010. Extensive work with buyers and potential supply partners in the United States helped define the opportunities and the benefits for both end-users and prospective US manufacturers.

“The more diversified we are in our product offerings, the more we will be able to shift to meet the needs of the marketplace,” says Mr Beck. “WMP is a growth category and a large category. It is a strategic imperative that we play there. Our industry’s growing interest is a positive and welcome development.”

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