Chinese customs data for 2015 indicates a 126 percent spike in the volume of milk shipments received in China since 2010. According to the data, the primary countries that export milk to China—a market currently valued at $333 million—are Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, areas where the popularity of plant-based dairy alternatives are growing. In 2003, China had one of the lowest rates of per capita dairy consumption (5.8 kg), according to data gathered by Iowa State University. Not coincidentally, a 29-year study published in April in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that the obesity rates in Chinese children had boomed from only one percent for both boys and girls in 1985 to a staggering 17 percent and nine percent, respectively. Researchers behind the study explained the results were due to a shift in Chinese diets toward foods that are “high-fat, high-energy density, and low dietary fiber.” Australia’s largest milk producer—Moon Lake Investments, formerly known as Van Diemen’s Land Co.—will begin shipping about 2.6 million gallons of milk annually to eastern China in the first quarter of 2017.
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