VÖM president comments on Austrian foreign dairy trade

Austrian dairy industry organisation VÖM is reportedly pleased about the milk industry’s foreign trade in the past year.

“Austrian quality is also in demand abroad. The export of dairy products has contributed to a significant extent to the stabilisation of the Austrian milk market, especially organic products and other high-quality, finished dairy products,” claims VÖM president, Helmut Petschar.

“The quality strategy of the domestic dairy industry is thus also popular on export markets, even if it means slightly higher prices due to the higher expenses.”

Austrian dairy exports increased by 3% to €1.012 billion in the first three quarters of 2021, while imports fell by 2% to €617 million.

During the lockdown times, when gastronomy and tourism were closed, above-average declines in imports were recorded. Here, cheap imported goods in the entry-level price range without special quality requirements are increasingly being used.

The most important foreign trade product of the Austrian dairy industry is cheese, which covers more than half of the export and import volume.

The quality strategy is reflected in the average revenue per kg of cheese exported at €4.22, which is significantly higher than the value of the imported goods at €3.91.

In the case of butter, 3,600 tons were exported at €4.78/kg, while 14,000 tons were imported at €4.17/kg.

Imported goods mostly end up in further processing, as retail brands in supermarkets or in wholesalers for the catering trade. These are mostly goods that do not meet Austrian quality standards, such as guaranteed origin, freedom from genetic engineering or high animal welfare and feeding standards.

Exports are made to more than 100 countries worldwide, but the most important export countries are Germany with a share of over 50%, followed by Italy and China.

Germany is also the most important import country with 58%, followed by Italy and the Netherlands.

“With an export rate of 45% and an import rate of around 30%, not only the importance of foreign trade for the Austrian dairy industry is visible, but also the tough international competition, which the Austrian dairy industry faces,” says Petschar.

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