Cheese leads the way for U.S. dairy exports growth

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U.S. dairy exports are up 35 percent in volume from a year ago, with cheese experiencing strong growth, according to seven-month trade data recently released by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.

“After declining significantly from a six-year steady growth trend in 2009, exports have strongly returned this year,” said Tom Suber, president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), which represents the export trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors, dairy cooperatives, export traders, and ingredient suppliers. “All products have experienced robust trade. Cheese, in particular, has come back strongly.”

With a sluggish July, total volume of U.S.-produced dairy slowed after a strong second quarter, but remained well above year-earlier levels. Total export value in July was $309 million, up 65 percent. The increase pushed year-to-date export value to more than $2 billion, a rise of 66 percent over the first seven months of 2009.

July cheese shipments were up 66 percent versus July 2009, driven by strong business in Japan, South Korea and Mexico, last year’s top three U.S. markets.

USDEC demand-building programs – largely funded by dairy producers through their national dairy checkoff – convinced major foodservice and retail chains in Asia to diversify its Oceania supply sources with U.S. cheese. A major foodservice chain in Japan sourced U.S. cheese for the first time during a promotion featuring “Big America” cheeseburgers, which was projected to use up to 400,000 pounds of U.S. cheese during a six-week promotion.

“U.S. pricing has been competitive, foodservice continues to expand, international buyers are looking to diversify supply and U.S. suppliers are responsive,” Suber said. “USDEC programs also have built greater awareness of U.S. supply capabilities. Things are coming together for U.S. cheese suppliers.”

For information about the USDEC, visit www.usdec.org. For information about the dairy checkoff, visit www.dairycheckoff.com.

Source: Dairy Management Inc.



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