Next to Mexico, the countries of Southeast Asia are quickly becoming top U.S. trading partners for dairy products and ingredients. That’s because food innovation and a commitment to health and nutrition were logical reasons that the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) looked to Southeast Asia as a region to engage as a dairy product partner. According to Vikki Nicholson-West, the organization’s senior vice president of Global Ingredients Marketing, U.S. dairy has just begun to tap the potential in this region.

“Twenty-three years ago, we put an office there and were exporting somewhere around $63 million a year. We were really focused on market entry and market development,” she explained during the October 27 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream sponsored by Cargill.

“Fast forward to 2015, and we shifted our marketing strategy as an organization to really building innovation with nutrition focus and that value of dairy,” Nicholson-West continued. “In 2020, we hit the $1 billion mark in Southeast Asia - $1.3 billion in sales.”

The $1 billion mark is significant because it brings sales in that area into near alignment with U.S. dairy’s largest dairy export market – Mexico. As Nicholson-West describes it, this is just the beginning for this burgeoning market.

“To put it in perspective, we have an 80% market share in Mexico. We only have roughly 40% market share in Southeast Asia. There’s still opportunity for growth, and the growth there since 2016 has been well over 60%,” she detailed.

The marketing specialist gives some credit for the growth to the investment that U.S. dairy has made in the region in the form of USDEC’s first brick and mortar establishment offshore – the U.S. Center for Dairy Excellence in Singapore. That’s allowed the organization to bring in people to focus on the needs of this 13-country area and especially the region’s big six – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

To watch the recording of the October 27 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is now also available as an audio-only podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and downloadable from the Hoard’s Dairyman website.

An ongoing series of events

The next broadcast of DairyLivestream will be on Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m. CDT. Each episode is designed for panelists to answer over 30 minutes of audience questions. If you haven’t joined a DairyLivestream broadcast yet, register here for free. Registering once registers you for all future events.

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November 1, 2021
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