Historically, dairy has not been an integral part of the Chinese diet. However, the breakneck speed of China’s growing economy and the country’s opening up to world trade has drastically impacted consumers’ traditional dietary habits. As consumers have become more urbanized, wealthier, and have more exposure to western-style diets thought travel and the media, they have become more open to dairy products.

In fact, 23% of Chinese consumers stated in the GlobalData Q3 2016 survey that they try to consume as much dairy as possible. Consequently, due to its large population base, China is now the world’s second largest dairy market, after the US, in value terms as of 2016.

The dairy market in China experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.4% from 2010-2015 in value terms. As such, the value of the Chinese dairy market almost doubled from US$29 billion in 2010 to US$57 billion in 2015, reflecting growing interest in dairy products and their benefits, such as being rich in protein and calcium.

GlobalData has forecast this trend to continue to grow with a CAGR of 11.1% over 2016-2020. The influence of western eating patterns will introduce new occasions where dairy is enjoyed instead of traditional Chinese dishes creating new opportunities for dairy manufacturers in the medium term.