Cultured dairy is a fermented dairy product that has been popular in global cuisines for thousands of years. Benefits of fermenting dairy include longer shelf life and improved digestion. Milk fermentation results in probiotics multiplication. This bacteria helps maintain a healthy gut environment. While cultured dairy products are numerous and vary based on culture, some well-known examples include yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, and kefir. These products are in high demand around the world and this article takes a look at which countries fulfill that demand.
Top Yogurt and Cultured Dairy Exporters
Some of the same countries that top the list of cheese exports are also the highest exporters of yogurt and cultured milk products. The very first country on the list is Germany which exports $868,582,000 worth of cultured dairy. This represents nearly a quarter of the world yogurt supply. Germany has a long tradition of dairy farming and is one of the top producers of milk.
Given that the European Union is the top milk producer in the world and that Germany and France are the top two performers in the EU, not surprising is the number 2 position. France helps Germany lead the world in yogurt and cultured dairy exports. Its exports have a value of $602,299,000. The dairy industry plays a large role in the economic stability of the country.
Number 3 on the list of top yogurt exporters is Saudi Arabia. This fact is surprising because Saudi Arabia, in general, relies on major food imports due to a lacking agricultural industry. This is not true, however, of dairy production. Yogurt and cultured milk exports here value $291,487,000. The largest dairy farm in the world, Almarai, is located here.
Following Saudi Arabia and returning to the EU is Belgium, the fourth largest exporter of fermented milk products. In this country, known for its delectable chocolates, exports are worth an astounding $246,075,000. The majority of Belgian exports go to other European countries.
The next top cultured dairy exporter is Austria. This European nation exports $168,811,000 worth of yogurt and cultured milk products annually. The number 1 import partner for Austria is Germany. Austrian tradition leans toward small family dairy farms, the average size being just 16 cows. The biggest dairy farm in the country, Perschlingtal Milch, with 350 cows. Regardless of these small farm sizes, Austria still managed to make it to number 5 on the export list.
The remaining 7 countries on the list are all in Europe with the exception of 2. Not surprisingly, Greece makes number 6, due to an increase in global demand for Greek-style yogurt, at $157,581,000 in exports. The following exporters are also located in Europe: Spain ($144,436,000), Netherlands ($136,289,000), Poland ($122,218,000), and Belarus ($89,526,000).
Outside of the EU and exporting more than the previously mentioned country Belarus (which is last on the list) are numbers 10 and 11. New Zealand exports $120,429,000 worth of the yogurt and cultured milk products in the world. Thailand joins dairy export competitors at number 11 with $95,970,000 in export value.
The Future of Cultured Dairy Exports
The fastest growers on the above list have been Greece, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand. As worldwide yogurt and cultured milk product demand is expected to increase, so too will exports. It will be interesting to see if Europe keeps its place as a top exporter over the next few years.