Dec. 31 butter stocks totaled 111.45 million lbs., down 8% from Nov. 30, and 27% less than December 2012, according to USDA’s Cold Storage report, released Jan. 22. Total natural cheese stocks, at 1.01 billion lbs., were up 1% from November, but down 1% from December 2012. American cheese, at 618.79 million lbs., was up 1% from November, but 3% less than a year earlier.

California NFDM price higher
California's weekly Nonfat Dry Milk Powder report was posted to the Dairy Marketing Branch website on Jan. 22. California’s F.O.B. Price for Extra Grade and Grade A Nonfat Dry Milk for the week ending Jan. 17 averaged $2.0044/lb., compared to $1.9661/lb. a week earlier. Sales for the week ending Jan. 17 totaled 10.49 million lbs., compared to 9.56 million lbs. a week earlier.

Saputo successful in Warrnambool bid
Canada’s Saputo Inc. has obtained majority control of Australia’s oldest dairy processor, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd., the company announced. After a lengthy bidding war, Saputo announced it controlled 52.7% of Warrnambool shares on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Saputo produces, markets, and distributes a wide array of dairy products, including cheese, fluid milk, extended shelf-life milk and cream products, cultured products and dairy ingredients. It is among the top ten dairy processors in the world, the largest in Canada, the third largest in Argentina and among the top three cheese producers in the United States.

The U.S. Dairy Market: What Consumers Eat and Why?
U.S. dairy market consumption habits have been summarized by market researcher Canadean.
The report, The US Dairy Market: What Consumers Eat and Why? covers consumption behaviors, the extent to which consumer trends influence their consumption, the value of the market these trends influence, and brand and private label choices as well as retailer choices. The survey-based data provided in this report examines over 20 consumer trends that affect the market and examines the share of consumption across 26 consumer groups.

Fluid milk consumption is declining as consumers age. But despite its decline, fluid milk continues to top the dairy market list on a per capita expenditure list, closely followed by cheese. Cream is the least purchased dairy item in value terms.

Almost half of the volume of milk distributed in the United States is private label. In contrast, private labels have a penetration of only 18% in butter and spreadable fats and 20% in puddings/desserts, indicating that they have struggled to gain market share in value-added dairy product categories. However, these market shares may grow as private labels become increasingly accepted by U.S. consumers and the country's economy remains relatively weak.