As World Milk Day (June 1) celebrations get underway with a four-day global social media campaign, DairyNZ’s chief executive Dr Tim Mackle reflects on where the delicious milk that New Zealand dairy cows produce is consumed.
It’s something of a dairy travel adventure he says. What begins with Kiwi cows and farmers ends up being consumed in more than 140 countries globally – as well as here at home in communities from North Cape to Bluff.
“New Zealand is the eighth largest producer of dairy in the world, and one of the most environmentally sustainable too,” says Dr Mackle. “This is because our farmers continually look for ways to care for the environment, and because our cows are fed grass which is grown on-farm, unlike many of the dairy countries around the world where feed needs to be brought in.”
He says the New Zealand way of dairy farming resonates well with consumers looking for the most sustainable food sources, and that many consumers also regard the milk from a grass fed cow to be superior.
“It all adds up to New Zealand dairy products being very sought-after internationally, and that’s something every Kiwi can be proud of and can celebrate, especially on World Milk Day this Saturday.
“Looking at the world map to see where our dairy is being consumed is like an A-Z travel adventure. China is our largest overseas market – probably no surprise for many Kiwis – buying 25 percent of what we produce, with what they imported last year valued at $3.4 billion.
“What might not be so widely appreciated is some of the other countries that go for our dairy – take Algeria for example, how many know Algeria not only imports our milk powder, but also a lot of our butter and cheese?”
Dr Mackle says New Zealand milk powder is a lifeline in a number of countries where there are hungry populations to feed, but no significant dairy farming.
“Milk is the fifth largest provider of energy for humans, and the third largest provider of protein and fat. It has many of the key nutrients to support the development of healthy bodies, and helps our brains to function at higher levels too.”
As well as providing liquid sustenance, milk powder is also used in confectionery and baking, or to make ice cream, youghurts, and the like.
New Zealand produced butter and cheese are popular internationally too, with cheese exports alone worth 10 times more than wine. Again, China is a major buyer, including New Zealand made mozzarella which is a favoured pizza topping. Other countries importing large amounts of our cheese and butter are Australia and Japan, while significant quantities are also imported by places like Chile, Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, South Africa, and even Morocco.
New Zealand made infant formula is another New Zealand dairy food sought after in a number of countries.
To see what countries consume New Zealand dairy products go to www.3ddairy.co.nz
To see dairy farming through the eyes of a child (four-year-old Jack Greenan) go to www.dairynz.co.nz/iloveicecream
About World Milk Day
World Milk Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in 2001 to celebrate and increase public awareness of the important contributions of the dairy sector to sustainability, economic development, livelihoods and nutrition.
This year’s World Milk Day social media campaign, the Enjoy Dairy Rally, promotes the nutrition, community and enjoyment benefits of dairy, tied together with the hashtags #WorldMilkDay and #EnjoyDairy
Among the events planned around the world are a photo contest to select the most photogenic cow, a gym class fuelled by dairy, school trips to dairy farms, donating dairy products to food banks, learning nutritional facts about milk and dairy products, and meals featuring dairy products.
Senior Communications & Media Specialist
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