International dairy experts today outlined the future for the dairy industry.
Dairy UK Chairman Dr David Dobbin called on the industry to focus on growing added value sales to the domestic and export markets, as well as increasing the promotional activity of dairy products to the public.
Nearly 200 delegates from 20 dairy-producing countries attending the European Dairy Association's (EDA) Annual Congress were told that the prospects for the industry remain positive despite the global crisis this year.
Dr David Dobbin, Chairman of Dairy UK which is hosting the EDA Congress, said: "The fundamental cause of the adverse dairy markets of the last year was over-production with the growth in global milk production overtaking demand.
"However, our members are optimistic, not pessimistic, about their future. We are acutely aware of the challenges we need to overcome to succeed.
"We must develop an economically sustainable growth strategy, market led and focusing on growing in value not just volume.
"We need to build our competitiveness focusing on improving on product and process innovation and supply chain integrity. And we need to actively promote and educate emerging generations on the nutritional value of dairy products.
"While we look to Government and the EU Commission to help us create an environment where we can succeed, first and foremost we in the British dairy industry must take the lead and take control over our own destiny."
Joost Korte, Deputy Director General for Agricultural and Rural Development at the European Commission, said the abolition of quotas was not responsible for low milk prices and added that if the EC had raised intervention price it would not have reduced supply of milk.
Joost said total consumption growth is forecast to be 2.1% with EU milk deliveries growth at around 0.8% and the Commission will publish its 10-year forecast for the industry in December.
Peter Giørtz-Carlsen, Executive Vice President of Arla Foods UK, said three global strategies needed to be adopted for future success in the areas of health, naturalness and sustainability.
"The future of dairy can be promising if we take the right actions now", he said. "We should not be afraid of the milk as we strive to attain sustainable growth."
Ronald Kers, Chief Executive Officer, Global Muller Group, told the congress: "We gain competitive advantage by driving value through innovation, brands, scale and operational excellence. Being able to sell British products to British consumers is important. It is all about bringing added value to the consumer."