New research from Euromonitor shows continued economic and political instability in the world’s biggest economies is dramatically affecting the global dairy sales, with what initially appears to be a 9% decline in retail value sales in 2015, and continued decline in 2016.

Yet much of this decline is to do with currency exchange as several major currencies weakened against the US dollar, including the Euro, pound, ruble, real and CNY since 2015.

While the effects of unfavorable exchange rates should not be underestimated, at least consumers are not buying less dairy. On the contrary, between 2015 and 2016, according to Euromonitor, retail volume of global dairy is growing and fixing exchange rates against the dollar paints a different picture with global retail sales growth of 4% in 2016.

This in fact is in line with overall snacks’ performance, a category once thought of as the biggest growth driver of packaged food. Consumers are at last recognising dairy foods as nutritious and natural snacks is benefiting the dairy industry. As a result, many traditional snack companies are now looking to gain a foothold in dairy as a new growth generator within the health arena.

The Euromonitor figures show that retail value for the global dairy market rose steadily from $474,4bn in 2011 to $501,6bn in 2014, before dropping to $454,2bn in 2015 and $452,6bn in 2016.

The data also shows the global dairy rankings for 2007-2016 (in retail value sales, in US$ fixed exchange rate), with the Danone group maintaining its number one spot.

The only change in the top 12 rankings from 2015 sees Royal FrieslandCampina rise one place to seventh, while the Unilever group drops one to eighth.

Euromonitor: Global dairy rankings by company 2016 in retail value sales (US$ fixed exchange rate)

  1. Group Danone
  2. Groupe Lactalis
  3. Nestlé SA
  4. Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co Ltd
  5. China Mengniu Dairy Co Ltd
  6. Arla Foods amba
  7. Royal FrieslandCampina
  8. Unilever Group
  9. Yakult Honsha Co Ltd
  10. Groupe Bel
  11. Dean Foods Co
  12. Kraft Foods Inc Global Dairy