Dairy’s global impact

Dairy helps to nourish the world sustainably

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The global impact of dairy

Year after year, generation after generation, milk and dairy foods continue to be a trusted source of nutrition and comfort around the world.

The dairy sector plays an important role in helping to nourish the world, producing 881 million tonnes of milk in 2019, a number that increases every year. More than 80% of the world’s population, or about 6 billion people, regularly consume liquid milk or other dairy products.

Dairy farming and processing are integral to national economies and individual livelihoods. There are about 133 million dairy farms globally. Over 600 million people live on dairy farms including 80 million women, around 37 million of whom head up their farms. 9% of the global milk production is traded annually.

A growing world population and changes in consumption habits continue to boost dairy demand. Meeting this demand, whilst also finding new ways to reduce impact on environment, manage resources efficiently and increase benefits to biodiversity and bio-economy, is a crucial part of the commitment of the dairy sector for continuous improvement.

Dairy facts and figures

Demand for milk and dairy products continues to increase globally, with milk production growth expected to return close to the long-term average of slightly above 2% in 2021, supported by changes in consumption habits, an increased income per capita in developing countries and the growth of world population by 92 million people.

Dairy in demand

Learn more about global dairy

Developed by experts from dairy producing countries around the world, the World Dairy Situation Report is a unique publication is produced annually by IDF as part of its mission to represent and support the dairy sector globally. 

It provides a wealth of information about the international dairy sector – production and processing, consumption, and trade, and how the dairy sector is adapting practices to face the challenge and continue to produce healthy and nutritious milk and dairy products. 

The latest edition of IDF’s flagship publication on global dairy market, covers markets worldwide, global trends and a chapter on COVID-19 pandemic preliminary impacts represents the most comprehensive dairy information available.


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