Archive: Dairy debate key to understanding industry challenges

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The UK dairy industry is facing formidable short term challenges due to global market volatility, which is set to continue, but the long-term outlook for dairy remains positive, according to Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK.  

In a briefing to parliamentarians ahead of a Westminster Hall debate on dairy, Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK, said “It is important that all political decision makers have as much factual information as possible at hand when they are debating the key issues affecting dairy. 

"The recent establishment of an All Party Parliamentary Group on Dairy has been a real step forward in the ensuring that Parliamentarians are kept fully informed and the dairy industry. 

“The industry welcomes today's debate as it will take a sustained collaborative effort to ensure that the positive long term prospects for the entire supply chain are realised." 

On milk pricing, Dr Bryans briefed MPs: "Despite recent market developments, the underlying demand for dairy globally is increasing thanks to population growth, rising income and changes in dietary preferences. However, at the moment supply is outstripping demand which is having an impact on prices. 

"No part of the UK dairy market can remain isolated from world market trends. Since raw milk can be switched between products, a weakness in one market feeds into all other UK markets. All markets are under severe pressure and unfortunately nobody is isolated from volatility, farmers and processors alike. 

"Global markets are volatile and cyclical and are being disturbed by a combination of factors. The supply and demand issue has been aggravated by a build up of stock in China and the residual impact of the Russian Ban on imports. 

"The latest Rabobank study foresees uneasy times until mid-2015 but it is important to bear in mind the cyclical nature of markets and long-term forecasts are strong." 

On trade and exports Dairy UK said the industry was working closely with UKTI and effort to explore new opportunities and remain committed to developing exports. 

On public health, Dr Bryans said Dairy UK was concerned that public health messaging is not focusing sufficiently on the nutrient richness of traditional foods and was acting more favourably towards highly processed foods. 

She said:" The UK needs a new approach to its nutritional recommendations taking into account the nutrient package of milk and dairy products. The dairy industry greatly appreciates the support parliamentarians are already giving but is asking for more consistency in developing policies that support dairy growth whilst promoting the nutritional benefits of milk and dairy products."

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