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Chilean dairy market continues to grow

Staff Writer |
Chile’s main supplier of dairy products is the United States, providing 25 percent of its supplies.

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The United States has more than quadrupled cheese exports (in value) to Chile from 2010 to 2016 in a wide variety of cheeses, including mozzarella, cheddar, and cream cheese. The Chilean dairy market continues to grow and evolve, providing new opportunities and niches for U.S. dairy products.

The Chilean market for retail food is comprised of large supermarkets, mid-sized grocery stores, convenience stores, gas station markets, and an array of smaller independent neighborhood mom-and-pop shops.

Most of the food in Chile is purchased in supermarkets (47 percent market share) while smaller independent stores hold a 20 percent market share.

The United States is Chile’s main provider of dairy products and holds a 25 percent market share. Argentina is the second largest supplier followed by New Zealand with market share at 22 and 19 percent, respectively.

The main dairy product the United States exports to Chile is cheese, specifically cream cheese and mozzarella cheese. After cheese, non-fat dry milk (skim milk) is the second-most exported product to Chile from the United States. In addition, Chile exports whole dried milk to Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia and China.

The United States increased exports to Chile by almost 30 percent annually in 2010-2016 in a wide variety of cheeses, including mozzarella, cheddar, and cream cheese. Industry experts recommend that U.S. exporters focus on supplying cheeses in high volumes and low prices to compete against gouda and “mantecoso” categories.

To export gourmet cheese, U.S. exporters will need an aggressive marketing campaign to compete with European cheeses that dominate this category.

Milk production in Chile is concentrated in the southern regions of Los Lagos and Los Rios, which account for 76 percent of total domestic milk production. Milk production also takes place in the regions of Bio Bio, Araucaria, and Metropolitana.

Total milk received in 2016 decreased by 1.9 percent compared to 2015. Production of dairy products increased in all categories in the same period, except for dry milk.

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