The average 10.5% annual growth rate of the last five years is expected to increase alongside higher middle-class consumption, according to a study by Research and Markets.
Usually living in cities and developing a taste for Western foods, the growing Chinese middle-class is likely to see dairy as a health segment and a good source of nutrition.
However, tempering this growth somewhat is widespread intolerance to dairy: a significant portion of the population is lactose-intolerant and experiences adverse health effects from dairy products.
This could prompt a growing preference for non-dairy products like soy milk at some point, but for now Chinese consumers will still continue to increase their milk consumption as the middle-class expands, the research found.
Though it is one of the smaller markets in the global dairy sector, in terms of per-capita expenditure, China’s rapid economic development bodes well for consumer goods producers, and especially ones which produce products associated with the West that carry premium branding, the study concluded.