The importance of dairying to the New Zealand economy is being highlighted on World Milk Day.
Dairying has experienced a resurgence in the past decade as increasingly sophisticated consumers look to naturally functional and whole foods for their nutritional needs, says Jacqueline Chow, director of global brands and nutrition at New Zealand dairy co-operative Fonterra.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations runs World Milk Day on June 1 and many organisations run events to drive awareness of the benefits of milk, she said.
Every minute around the world 1.3 million litres of milk will be consumed and 1353 tonnes of cow and buffalo milk will be produced.
Ms Chow says demand for milk shows no sign of abating with the world expected to require another 100 billion litres by 2020.
Consumption is being driven by a burgeoning middle class in emerging economies, ageing populations, a move towards natural, high protein food sources and scientific innovation in dairy.
“China’s an obvious source of this demand, but it is happening across the globe, particularly in developing nations that do not have a local supply to meet the dairy demands of their own populations,” she said.
Fonterra is the world’s largest exporter of dairy commodities. Last month it forecast lower milk payouts to farmers which will take about $2.6 billion out of the domestic economy in the next 18 months.
Still, the co-operative continues to invest heavily in new processing plants.
Fonterra is considering building another large milk powder drier at Lichfield in Waikato, creating 50 jobs, Radio New Zealand reported yesterday.
Fonterra has two cheese plants at Lichfield which produce 60,000 tonnes of product each year. This includes household names like Edam, Gouda, Cheddar, Parmesan, Colby, Swiss, Egmont, and low and zero sodium cheeses.