Australian milk on high demand

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Australia’s dairy industry is experiencing an unparalleled rise not seen for many years, as several new manufacturing developments in the last year have greatly contributed to boost in production for export and domestic market.

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According to Andrew Buckley, National Leader – Food and Beverage at pitt&sherry, the industry growth was propelled by the growing international demand, industry consolidation and manufacturing expansion.

In 2012, Australian dairy exports to China increased by 17 % compared to 2011, and it is widely expected that the demand for milk powder, liquid milk, cheese and butter will continue to grow.

To meet the demands from developing Asian nations requiring milk, cheese and products for infant nutrition, Australia’s leading manufacturers have begun to look into the possibilities of upgrading their capabilities and production capacities.

Engineering consultancy pitt&sherry has played a key role in the last four significant facility developments by Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MGC), Lion and Tasmanian Dairy Products (TDP).

According to Mr Buckley, these projects would further strengthen the position of the Australian dairy industry and enable it to substantially lift its output through innovative and sustainable methods.

“Led by a developing Chinese middle class and growing worldwide food security issues, a mix of industry consolidation and rationalisation, coupled with expansion, has created a buzz not seen in the industry for some time,” Mr Buckley said.

However, Mr Buckley warned that the industry would need to be careful during the growth phase as manufacturers still faced several obstacles in a competitive global market.

“While there is plenty of opportunity, Australia will be up against some significant challenges, such as access to capital, water and skilled labour, changing landscapes for gas and energy pricing, and an increasing need to invest in research and development activities to meet future needs,” he said.

“Domestically, we need to see a change in consumer sentiment and buying preferences – to back Australian produce where it makes sense to do so over cheap imports. This will help change the paradigm for major grocery chains, which, in part, we have already seen with the Murray Goulburn expansion we are associated with.”