Increased Chinese demand is going to mean a big boost in sales for Australian diary manufacturers, particularly cheese-makers.
The Australian reports that China’s demand for Australian dairy products increased 4.7 per cent to $291 million last year, with cheese up 22 per cent.
Meredith Dairy’s managing director, Rugby Wilson, has been stunned at the increased exports.
"We were a bit stunned at the demand in China though we haven't yet turned it in to a reality," Wilson said.
Chinese incomes are rising, and the country’s demand for better-quality food is following.
Earlier this week the US Department of Agriculture released a report highlighting the boost in Australian dairy production after the drought’s end and strong rainfall in the last two years. It also pointed to the increasing world demand for dairy.
"Export-oriented processors [mainly in Victoria and Tasmania] are expected to step up production to meet world demand for dairy products," the USDA report stated.
Rabobank’s senior dairy analyst Michael Harvey said demand for cheese was strong all round, especially in China.
“The global market is growing at 2.5 per cent a year, but China is twice that," he told The Australian.
"It's from a small base, but it's a blistering rate in a very big market."
China’s overtook the United States as the world’s biggest importer of food last year, according to The Australian Financial Review.