global dairy demand slumps in 2022

Milk production had been growing steadily at around 2.5% per year but this fell to 0.4% in 2022. This was despite a large number of European and North American dairy farms making a profit in 2022, according to IFCN’s provisional results* from typical farms around the world.

Dairy experts at this year’s IFCN’s Researcher Conference  raised concerns about the sustainability of sector and how it will meet dairy demand in the long-term. More than 210 dairy specialists from more than 60 countries attended the conference, held in Latvia and live-streamed around the world.  

Challenges facing the dairy sector varied between regions. Developed areas are grappling with environmental and animal welfare challenges, as well as shortages of labour, land and willing successors to take on family farms. Less developed nations are concerned about uncertain economic and political conditions and a lack of infrastructure to support dairy growth.

The conference’s conclusion was that farmers should aim to ‘think global but act local’ by considering where they fit in the global picture and seeking solutions that work in their own region.

During the IFCN Dairy Conference 2023 in Riga Andrea Lendewig  – senior researcher at IFCN shared this shocking number which is still under validation.

1. Despite record milk prices and very good farm economics milk supply grew in 2022 to only 0,4% which is much lower than the normal rate which is ca. 2,5%.

2. World population grew in 2022 by 0,9% and with 0,4 % milk production growth we have per person 0,5% less milk than in 2021.

3. Question: So is this is signal that people move away from dairy products and dairy alternatives will take over the dairy sector?

4. Answer: No this demand decline is NOT a result of consumers’ preference shift. It was simply not enough milk available in 2022. People can only consume what is produced.

*Based on preliminary analysis available to date, finalised data expected autumn 2023.

Source : AHDB July 4th 2023 and IFCN press release

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