World 31.01.2024

Rabobank: China Emerges as Key Player in Global Cheese Trade Growth

Source: The DairyNews
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Global cheese consumption is set to break records, reaching an estimated 21.6 million metric tons by the end of this year, with China positioned as a significant growth engine, according to a recent report by Rabobank.
Rabobank: China Emerges as Key Player in Global Cheese Trade Growth
Despite China's current per capita cheese consumption being relatively low at 0.2 kg, the report anticipates a gradual increase in the coming years, driven by factors such as expanding quick-service restaurants, bakeries, and tea shops, as well as ongoing product innovation.

Rabobank's report projects a 9.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in cheese demand from 2023 to 2030 in China, with total demand reaching 495,000 metric tons by 2030. Middle-class consumers' rising disposable income, the popularity of Western-style quick-service-restaurant chains, and innovative uses of cream cheese and mozzarella are identified as key drivers of this growth.

Food service cheese sales, accounting for 60% to 75% of total cheese consumption from 2012 to 2022, are expected to continue their upward trajectory, reaching 375,000 metric tons by 2030, with an estimated annual growth of 10.3%. Domestic cheese production is projected to contribute 35% to 45% of total consumption, leaving a 55% to 65% share for imports.

The report estimates China's annual cheese imports to reach 270,000 to 320,000 metric tons by 2030. However, the potential for increased domestic cheese production could impact this import growth forecast. While the forecast presents opportunities for global cheese traders, the growth is contingent on China's economic conditions, with weaker economic factors posing downside risks to demand growth.

Despite potential challenges, the report underscores the long runway for cheese consumption growth in China, emphasizing its sensitivity to prices and consumer purchasing power. Global cheese traders are presented with a promising opportunity to capture a share of China's rising demand in the dynamic landscape of the cheese market.
Lee Mielke
Lee Mielke
editor of the Mielke Market Weekly
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Aaron Smith
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February 2024
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