Growing Industrial Consumption of Fluid Milk in the U.S. Will Offset the Drop in Demand from Households

Dairy Products May 30, 2016
Author: Irina Andreeva
Market Analyst

Between 2008 and 2015, the U.S. milk market showed positive dynamics. It rose from 189 billion pounds in 2008 to 208 billion pounds in 2015, expanding with a CAGR of +1.4%.

U.S. growth in fluid milk consumption is expected to increase +1.6% (currently +1.4%) in the medium term, provided by the domestic manufacturing growth and industrial use of fluid milk on the one hand. However, it will be restrained by the falling retail sales and a shrinking demand on the domestic market.

U.S. fluid milk manufacturing illustrated positive dynamics over the last few years. In 2015, production reached 209 billion pounds, rising with a CAGR of +1.3% from 2008 to 2015. Production of fluid milk and dairy products is expected to grow at a slower pace than the economy as a whole up to 2020, which proves that the industry is in a mature phase of its life cycle now. Being a mature industry, fluid milk has a strong market acceptance, as fluid milk and dairy products (cheese, butter, ice-cream) are staple items in downstream industries and consumers' kitchens. Consumption of milk by Americans will continue its downward trend.

This growth of fluid milk output for consuming industries will offset the drop in demand from households. In the next six years, rising household disposable incomes stemming from the projected economic recovery are expected to boost industry demand and revenues. In addition, manufacturers will continue introducing innovative products that will meet changing consumers' tastes. However, U.S. fluid milk producers may face fierce competition from the leading global producers, striving to strengthen their shares in global exports.

Net U.S. exports of fluid milk have shown a positive trend since 2008. In 2015, this industry ran a trade surplus of 372 million USD, approximately 34% of gross exports. However, due to low trade intensity, imports and exports should not be regarded as strong factors influencing U.S. market dynamics in the medium term.

Thailand was the main supplier of fluid milk into the U.S., with a 24% share of total U.S. imports in 2015. It was followed by Mexico (17%) and the Republic of Korea (13%). Thailand (+12 percentage points) and the Republic of Korea (+7 percentage points) significantly strengthened their positions in the U.S. import structure. By contrast, Mexico (-24 percentage points) saw its share reduced.

In 2015, the main destinations of U.S. fluid milk exports were Canada (55%) and, distantly, Mexico (15%). The share exported to Canada increased (+4 percentage points), while the share sent to Mexico dropped (-1 percentage points).

Source: U.S. Fluid Milk Market. Analysis And Forecast to 2020