- Milk is a naturally nutritionally dense food containing high quality protein and providing an important source of calcium, magnesium, selenium and vitamin B12.
- Approximately 3% of the worlds milk is produced in New Zealand
- New Zealand is the world’s 8th largest dairy producer.
- The world’s largest milk producing countries, India and the US, produce 7 and 4 times more milk than New Zealand each year. The European Union produces nearly 8 times more milk than New Zealand each year.
- New Zealand exports 95% of the milk we produce each year.
- Dairy accounts for one in every three dollars earned by New Zealand for exporting goods, and approximately 20% of New Zealand’s total goods and services export earnings.
- New Zealand has the world’s highest level of dairy self-sufficiency, due to favorable natural conditions for dairy production, and a small population.
- There are currently more dairy cows than people in New Zealand.
- All 13 DCANZ member companies export dairy products. New Zealand dairy products are exported to more than 140 different markets each year.
- The top five markets for New Zealand dairy in the year to June 2018 were: China, Australia United States, United Arab Emirates, Japan
- In the year to June 2018 New Zealand dairy exports were valued at approximately NZ$16.667 billion (US$ 11.87 billion). The top five dairy export products were: whole milk powder (NZ$5.8 billion), butter (NZ$ 2.18 billion), cheese (NZ$1.9 billion), infant formula (NZ$1.2 billion) and skim milk powder (NZ$1.1 billion).
- The New Zealand dairy sector provides direct employment for more than 38,000 people and is a top 10 purchaser of output from a third of all other industries in the New Zealand economy.
- New Zealand dairy farmers are committed to continually improving their sustainability. Their efforts to date have included fencing over 26,000 km of waterways to exclude cattle.
- New Zealand’s animal welfare frameworks have received a number 1 ranking in the World Animal Protection’s Animal Protection Index.
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 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.