- New Zealand accounts for 3% of total world production
- New Zealand exports about 95% of its dairy production
- In the year to June 2016, dairy was New Zealand's largest export sector (18% of total goods and service exports)
- New Zealand exported NZ$ 12.4 billion worth of dairy products in the year ending June 2016
- The top five markets for New Zealand dairy exports are: China, United States, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Japan
- New Zealand's top four dairy export products are: whole milk powder (37%), cheese (12%), skim milk powder (10%), and butter (9%)
- Protein products, UHT milk, and infant formula accounted for 21% of New Zealand dairy exports in 2015, up from 16% in 2013
Dairy is part of our New Zealand heritage.
Our temperate climate, great soil and abundant water support our pasture-based system, while our island status provides natural protection from pests and diseases.
Our exposure to global competition in world markets has meant that, despite being a long way from our markets, the New Zealand dairy industry has continued to grow and innovate, consolidating over time and diversifying exports to more than 100 markets.
New Zealand’s produces a wide range of dairy products. Milk powders are a large part of the product mix, reflecting the sharp seasonality of New Zealand milk production, our distance from market, market access and demand dynamics, and New Zealand's skill in milk powder manufacturing. New Zealand dairy companies are trusted suppliers of a full range of dairy products, including of high value dairy nutritional products, specialised dairy ingredients for food service, and infant formulas.
New Zealand's first dairy processing factory was established around 1875 and the first export shipment of refrigerated butter left Dunedin in 1882. Since this time, the industry has followed a path of growth and consolidation, culminating in the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001, which establishes the current regulatory framework for the industry.
While most milk in New Zealand is processed by farmer-owned cooperatives, the industry has become increasingly diverse. There is a growing number of private local and multinational dairy companies now operating in New Zealand.