Irish Dairy Products Increasingly Popular In Japan and South Korea

We know that Irish dairy products are among the best in the world, but did you know that Japan is the fourth largest export market for Irish Cheddar? Earlier this month, Dansko Foods attended the trade mission to Japan and South Korea, organised by Bord Bia, and our findings demonstrated that the growing market for dairy produce in both countries is great news for Irish dairy producers and suppliers.

Historically, Japan and South Korea have not been countries associated with high dairy consumption, and the culture and geography of both countries mean that indigenous dairy production is low. Recent trends towards a westernised diet mean that there is a growing demand for high quality protein, and the dairy import market has seen remarkable growth as a result.

In Japan, as part of the EU Economic Partnership JEEPA, import tariffs on dairy products are set to reduce from the current 29% to 0% within the next decade. The Department of Agriculture in Ireland has been working in an official capacity with the Japanese Government in order to improve access for Irish meat products, and the opening of the Bord Bia Tokyo Office has enabled a €4m investment to drive activities in Japan and Korea. There are excellent opportunities for Irish exporters in both markets, and efforts are increasing to enhance market understanding and lead generation.

Dairy Consumption Increases Across Asia

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Cheese south korea

The Japanese market is sizeable and affluent, with a population of 127 million that is predominately urban dwelling. The growing demand for higher protein diets, similar to those more commonly consumed in Western countries, has created a market of discerning consumers who are prepared to pay a premium for high quality products, such as the grass fed, pasture fed Irish dairy produce supplied by Dansko. Japan is often seen to set trends across Asia, and this demand for top quality dairy produce is also growing in Korea and China at present.

South Korea is home to more than 51 million people, and 82% are urban dwelling. Statistics show that the population of South Korea is rapidly ageing, and recent tough economic conditions have resulted in high youth unemployment and a heavy reliance on exports. South Korea has also seen a trend towards a much more westernised diet that is high in protein, and the mountainous conditions and cultural patterns account for very low dairy production within the country. Korea is only 57% self sufficient in dairy produce, and most of this is used as drinking milk, with the remainder used to manufacture products such as fermented drinks, cheese, powders and yoghurt.

Korea has seen many food safety alerts recently, and this has resulted in a high awareness of food quality and safety. The great-tasting, top quality Irish dairy produce we supply is an excellent solution, since it exceeds the exceptional standards of international monitoring agencies.

Cheese Is Most Popular Dairy Product in Japan

dairy consumption japan
dairy south korea

Japan is the largest importer of cheese in the world, and suppliers from the United States, New Zealand and Australia account for 60% of total imports. However, imports from Ireland are on the increase, rising by 70% in five years, and Japan is now the fourth largest export market for Irish Cheddar. All of the Irish Cheddar manufacturers have an existing presence and are growing relationships in Japan, where all imports are regulated through government purchases.

There has been a strong increase in direct consumption, and higher demand for cheese in manufacturing/processed food sectors such as bakery, pizza and prepared food. The majority of butter is used for industrial purposes, especially in the production of confectionery and processed fats, and natural cheese at retail is not a significant part of the market. Processed cheese and food service account for the largest proportion of the high quantities of cheese imported, especially mozzarella for pizzas. The processed cheese market is large, and speciality cheeses are also increasing in popularity, with cheese containing additives increasing in demand.

South Korea is the 7th largest importer of cheddar in the world, also importing whey and powders, with an increase of 10% in five years, and sliced Cheddar dominates the cheese market here. Most cheddar is used in the manufacture of processed cheese, with some combined with mozzarella for use on pizzas. Irish dairy exports to South Korea in 2018 amounted to €5.1m, mainly comprised of casein, SMP and MPC. This is a sizeable and affluent market with plenty of room for growth, and the appeal of our top quality Irish dairy produce is high.

The Future for Dairy in Japan

As the demand for dairy continues to grow in Japan and across Asia, consumers are becoming increasingly discerning about the quality of the products they buy. Dairy product imports look set to continue as an area of growth, and Irish dairy products, such as those supplied by Dansko, are popular additions to the market. High quality products such as these are inspiring an appreciation for speciality cheeses, as well as the use of cheese as an ingredient in baked goods and processed foods, and these trends look set to continue.

Why Choose Dansko Dairy

dansko trade mission japan and south korea

Dansko is an Irish, family owned dairy company, established in 1986, specialising in great quality dairy products from Ireland. We are independent, with connections across the globe, enabling us to offer the finest quality Irish butter and cheese products to our global market. At Dansko, it is important to us to supply only the best grass fed, pasture based, hormone free dairy products, and we can tailor our products to suit your needs.

We have over 30 years experience, allowing us to quickly establish what will work for you and what will not, and the quality of our products speaks for itself. We have supply contracts with all the major dairy suppliers in the UK, Europe and New Zealand, and we are a certified Origin Green member, working to Lean Manufacturing principles in our BRC Higher Grade facility. We supply into foodservice, retail, industrial, bakery and confectionary sectors across Ireland, UK, Europe, USA, North and South Africa, and whether you are purchasing or selling, we can work with you to find the best solutions for your business.