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Global dairy fat consumption to increase

nevodka/iStock/Thinkstock Dairy products including milk, cheese, butter and yogurt displayed on white wood
Trend attributed to more positive health assessment of dairy fat and change in taste.

Consumers’ preferences are influenced by the science on dairy fat and its impact on a healthy diet, the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) and the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported in their newly released “Agricultural Outlook 2018-2027.”

Welcoming the report, International Dairy Federation (IDF) director general Caroline Emond said the OECD-FAO outlook provides useful market data and analyses and is complementary to the “World Dairy Situation Report” published annually by IDF.

She pointed to the publication’s statement : “Dairy demand in developed countries has been shifted for several years towards butter and dairy fat and away from substitutes based on vegetable oil. This trend can be attributed to a more positive health assessment of dairy fat and a change in taste.”

The OECD-FAO report recognizes that the price of butter will remain higher “due to structural changes in demand for milk fat solids.” It forecasts that global demand for butter will grow at nearly 2.2% annually.

The joint publication predicts that consumers in developed countries will consume an additional 0.3 kg of butter in 2027 due to preferences shifting in favor of butter over other oils and fats.

“Recent studies that have shed a more positive light on the health implication of dairy fat consumption, as well as consumers’ preference for taste and less processed food, have encouraged its use in bakery products and recipes,” the report noted.

This move is heartening, according to Emond, as emerging science has indicated that consuming dairy foods like milk, yogurt and cheese as part of a healthy, balanced eating pattern can support health.

While per capita consumption of many commodities is expected to remain flat globally, the OECD and FAO outlook shows that dairy consumption is one rare exception and is set to expand faster than population growth in the coming decade.

IDF urged OECD and FAO to monitor the impact of dairy price decreases on farmers’ incomes in the light of the high costs of feed, utilities and farm management.

The federation shares OECD-FAO's acknowledgement of the role trade plays in ensuring food security. IDF collaborates actively with Codex Alimentarius and ISO to facilitate the trade of safe products through the harmonization of standards.

The OECD-FAO report recognizes that a significant portion of growth in dairy production and demand will come from Asia (with India and Pakistan accounting for the highest increase). The World Dairy Summit to be held in Daejeon, South Korea, in October will address the rise in production and consumption of milk and dairy products in Asia. Strong participation is expected from IDF members in South Korea, China, Japan and India, as well as other countries worldwide.

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