UDIM Joins Dairy Mission Trip to Asia
CEO Dwyer Williams adds Michigan perspective to U.S. Dairy Export Council delegation to Singapore.
OKEMOS, Mich. [July 20, 2023] – United Dairy Industry of Michigan CEO Dwyer Williams joined a U.S. dairy delegation to Singapore, learning first-hand about potential export opportunities for Michigan dairy farmers. With about 63% of the world’s current population living in the Asia-Pacific market, it is a crucial growth area for U.S. dairy foods.
“It was a brilliant experience,” Williams says. From visiting a local supermarket to an in-depth tour of the U.S. Center for Dairy Excellence education and training hub to witnessing one of the busiest ports in the world in action and networking with key partners in the region, the whirlwind trip offered an eye-opening perspective of trade in this vital region.
For instance, Williams learned that Halal-certified dairy products are integral to driving U.S. export growth in markets like Malaysia and Indonesia. Halal certification means the product is permissible or acceptable in accordance with Islamic law. Asia is home to 65% of the world’s Muslims, and Indonesia, in the Southeast, is the world’s most populous Muslim country. The certification often also serves as a safety standard for non-Muslims, underscoring the importance of understanding the region’s consumer wants and needs.
The tour offered direct insight into how the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) team listens to consumers, understands local and regional cultures and creates products people want – like a longan goji berry protein bar the team has developed.
The U.S. dairy presence in the region is imperative to build customer understanding and markets. According to USDEC, the United States held a 28% import market share in Southeast Asia in 2022, up nearly 5 percentage points since 2019.
Additionally, U.S. dairy export value to Southeast Asia rose 22% to a record U.S.$1.68 billion in 2022. In terms of volume, the region is the No. 2 U.S. market for nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder and lactose, the No. 4 market for high-value, high-protein whey protein concentrate and a top 10 market for cheese.
Because of this importance, USDEC, on behalf of America’s dairy farmers, has made significant investments in the region in recent years, opening the U.S. Center for Dairy Excellence in 2020 to facilitate relationships and market development.
“The state-of-the-art facility serves as an ideation hub for U.S. dairy to bring customers and others to the center to showcase the culinary capabilities of U.S. dairy,” notes Williams. “It serves as a collaboration space for USDEC and customers while serving as a learning facility about everything U.S. dairy. And it’s an amazing space to host guests.”
For instance, the Center is helping address consumer demand shifts toward healthier food and beverage products. The trend has led to a steep increase in products like energy drinks, protein bars and other healthy foods in Southeast Asia retail stores.
“It was a remarkable experience to see and taste practical applications of dairy food and drink options in development to meet the needs, wants and interests of different countries in the region,” says Williams. “Work at the Center helps differentiate products for each county in the region based on needs and preferences.”
The week wrapped with a networking event at the home of the U.S. ambassador to Singapore, with all the groups the U.S. delegation met during the trip, including U.S. companies Glanbia, Dairy Farmers of America and Leprino.
“It was a chance to get to know one another a bit more outside the meetings we had to discuss marketing and export strategies for the region,” Williams adds.
“This was an incredible experience to see how USDEC is working to incorporate U.S. dairy into the region’s local and regional and cultural innovations to drive market opportunities for Michigan dairy farm families,” she concludes.
About the United Dairy Industry of Michigan
The United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) is dedicated to serving Michigan’s hard-working dairy farm families and promoting Michigan’s locally produced dairy products. UDIM is the umbrella organization for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council of Michigan. These non-profit organizations provide dairy product promotion and nutrition education services on behalf of their funding members.
Hi-res images for download: https://bit.ly/3pR8hMQ
LAM_4726.jpg: The U.S. dairy delegation visited the U.S. Dairy Export Council’s Center for Dairy Excellence in Singapore to learn about practical applications of dairy food and drink options in development to meet the needs, wants and interests of different countries in the region.
IMG_0818.jpg: The U.S. Center for Dairy Excellence in Singapore is a state-of-the-art facility serving as an ideation hub for U.S. dairy to bring customers and others to the center to showcase the culinary capabilities of U.S. dairy.
LAM_6739.jpg: U.S. Dairy Export Council’s Center for Dairy Excellence in Singapore opened its doors in 2020 to help facilitate relationships and market development in the region.
 Laffan M. Islam in Southeast Asia. Available at: https://asiasociety.org/education/islam-southeast-asia.