"There's a love affair with dairy around the globe," said International Dairy Foods Association's Chief Executive Office, Connie Tipton at the 26th annual Dairy Forum in Miami, Fla., on Monday, January 24. "Domino's Pizza Australia recently signed an exclusive supply deal to source cheese for its outlets in Australia and New Zealand from Leprino Foods, and that cheese will be made here in the United States and exported to Australia," noted Tipton.

That's not the only bright spot for U.S. dairy products noted Tipton, "The U.S. Dairy Export Council reports U.S. cheese exports to Japan grew 117 percent to over 8,000 tons through the first seven months of 2010. A big reason for the gains is that Japanese buyers have grown more accustomed to U.S. cheeses and appreciative of their exceptional qualities."

The same success story can be found with Japan's neighbors, "A shade to the west, South Koreans consumed five percent more dairy products through the first six months of 2010 than they did during the same period the previous year. The U.S. Dairy Export Council reports the value of US shipments to South Korea during that time jumped 87 percent to $63.5 million," said Tipton.

In addition to these countries' growing appetite for dairy products, some companies are expanding operations. "International Dairy Queen plans to add about 270 new stores in China by the end of 2011, raising its total number of Chinese units to more than 500. China represents the company's fastest growing – and second-largest global market," says Tipton.

Dairy is not only strong at abroad, but at home as well. "Today, every American consumes about 33 pounds of cheese per year, an increase of over 18 pounds since 1975 when we consumed less than 15 pounds," noted Tipton. "Another example, U.S. per-capita yogurt consumption has increased more than fivefold since 1980 to about 13 pounds today; but that's nowhere near the levels in many European countries, like France where per-capita consumption of yogurt is nearly three times greater at over 38 pounds."

For more on the Dairy Forum, be sure to check out our February 25th issue of Hoard's Dairyman.