U.S. dairy’s positive momentum in the international market continued in 2023 as exports got off to a strong start in January. U.S. shipments climbed 16% year-over-year in volume on a milk solids equivalent (MSE) basis (+25,026 MT MSE) and 21% in value (+$121.4 million) for the month.
The core U.S. product categories – cheese, nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NFDM/SMP) and whey – all grew by double digits even as sales of milkfat-heavy products, namely butter, anhydrous milkfat and whole milk powder, struggled.
NFDM/SMP volumes continued to bounce back after being the only major product category to contract in 2022. In January, shipments increased by 15% (+8,805 MT) year-over-year thanks to robust demand from Mexico.
Whey – in all its forms, from permeate and sweet whey to WPC80 and WPI – continued to perform well (+12%, +4,351 MT for low-protein varieties and +14%, +569 MT for WPC80+). U.S. whey success varied by geography: China bought more low-protein varieties, while high-protein varieties found eager buyers in a host of different markets.
Despite rising competition in the cheese space, U.S. exports held strong, increasing 16% (+4,582 MT) thanks to solid growth across the world but particularly in Latin America, Middle East/North Africa and Japan.
Looking ahead, challenges remain with low-priced European cheese on the market, uncertainty from China and economic headwinds. Nonetheless, U.S. dairy exports are off to a running start in 2023.
Visit U.S. Export Dairy Council’s website for more detailed information.