In a recent report, USDA found urban Chinese consumers are eating and drinking healthier than in previous years, emphasizing “eating well” over “eating full.” This mindset, along with a need for convenient nutrition, has led to growth in China’s beverage industry. In fact, profit growth in China’s beverage industry grew by nearly 18 percent in 2017. Many of these beverage products include processed dairy or fruit ingredients.
Urban Chinese demand for nutritious beverages has led to higher imports of dairy ingredients. Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and Poland are among those keeping China’s dairy needs fulfilled. According to Wageningen University, Netherlands, China’s appetite for milk is part of a long-term cultural shift, and consumption is expected to triple by 2050. Accordingly, the country’s dairy herd has increased sizably since the 2008 milk scandal.
U.S. exports of dairy and fruit to China are limited while the countries’ trade dispute continues. However, there are reports a trade deal may occur over the next month, which would benefit both countries’ food and agribusiness industries. U.S. frozen and dried blueberries, tart cherries, and dried cranberries are sought after by Chinese food and beverage processors because of their unique characteristics and lack of alternate sources. Furthermore, China is continuing to import U.S. high-protein whey concentrate, a dairy ingredient with low tariffs that is used to fortify yogurt and dairy beverages.