Dairy product production

Milk can be converted into a wide range of dairy products - including fresh products such as modified milk, yoghurt, desserts and custards, or longer-shelf-life products such as cheese or butter, long-life milk, milk powders and whey powders. Overall about one-third of world milk is consumed as fresh market milk; one-quarter is used in cheese making; one-fifth is processed into butter, milk powder and casein. The remainder is processed into soft or frozen products, condensed and evaporated milk, or other dairy products (Cox & Youg Zhu 2003).

Trends in production of cheese, butter, skim milk powder (SMP) and whole milk powder (WMP) have been reported by OECD FAO, with forecasts up to 2014 (see Fig. 14.1). These figures show that cheese production has been steadily increasing relative to other dairy products, up by 50% in the 20 years to 2004. Cheese production is forecast to continue to increase more than any other dairy product, reaching 21 MT by 2014 (OECD 2005a). Meanwhile, production of SMP and WMP has been stagnating. This reflects a trend in world dairy markets away from the supply-led bulk commodities (SMP, butter) to demand-driven value-added dairy products such as cheese (OECD 2004).

The dominant cheese-producing nations are Europe and the United States, accounting for 6 and 4 MT, respectively, of the 17 MT cheese produced (see Table 14.2). Increasing cheese production has been driven by changes in consumption. These changes in turn have been driven by per capita income growth, but also by globalisation of diets. There have been shifting trends towards fast and convenience foods, resulting in people consuming more cheese, for example in hamburgers and pizza. It is worth noting here that for every kilogram of cheese produced, 9 litres of waste whey is created.

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