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ASEAN Cheese News Release

Kara McDonald

Depth and Quality of U.S. Cheeses a Match for Growing ASEAN Market
U.S. dairy suppliers are serving up cheese innovations to delight regional consumers.

Singapore, April 17, 2015 - Southeast Asia's regionally integrated, thriving food manufacturing and foodservice industries are driving an increasing need for dairy ingredients and cheese. As global demand for cheese expands, the U.S. dairy industry can offer its plethora of flavorful and functional cheeses to fill the gap. The United States, once a marginal global player, now is the largest single-country exporter of cheese, and U.S. dairy producers are committed to fulfill foodservice operator needs to help drive their businesses forward.

"The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the second largest market for U.S. dairy exports, trailing only Mexico," said Vikki Nicholson, senior vice president of global marketing for the U.S. Dairy Export Council® (USDEC).

"While the Southeast Asian market is well acquainted with U.S. dairy ingredients," Nicholson said, "it is not yet familiar with the breadth and quality of the more than 600 varieties of cheese made by U.S. dairy producers, including international styles such as English Cheddar and Italian mozzarella and American originals such as Monterey Jack, Colby and cream cheese."

This was one topic discussed in a series of sessions April 16 and 17 during the U.S. Dairy Business Conference, hosted by the USDEC in Singapore. Foodservice operators and dairy and food processing companies connected with U.S. dairy suppliers to gain actionable insights on global market trends and product developments driving worldwide demand for U.S. dairy.

Highlights from the conference include:

  • Renowned trends analyst Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation with Innova Market Insights, shared top trends shaping new product introductions in the global food industry. Several of the leading trends for 2015 have a strong link to dairy, such as the move from "clean to clear label," "convenience for foodies," "snacks rise to the occasion," and "more in store for protein."
  • Angélique Hollister, vice president of cheese and consumer products marketing for USDEC, discussed how the U.S. cheese industry is committed to meeting Southeast Asia's growing cheese demand and why it is one of the best-suited future supply sources for commodity and specialty cheese.
  • Cheese expert Mark Todd introduced the story of America's cheese industry, which began centuries ago with the first European immigrants and continues today thanks to American cheesemakers dedicated to meeting customers' needs for functional yet delicious cheese.
  • Jaime Castaneda, executive director of the Consortium for Common Food Names, brought to the audience's attention the looming threats that could restrict Southeast Asian buyers' and consumers' choice if they do not act against the European Union's efforts to protect common food names, including generic cheese.

USDEC representatives across Southeast Asia carry out a variety of trade engagement programs each year, including hosting seminars, participating in trade shows and sharing timely market information. Their goal is to accelerate customer success with sourcing and using U.S. dairy. For more information on USDEC Southeast Asia, email

"The U.S. dairy industry is the largest cheese producer in the world and offers advantages in supply security, long-term partnerships and accelerated growth," Nicholson said. "We can provide Southeast Asian foodservice operators and dairy and food processing companies the peace of mind they need when bringing innovative products to market on a global scale."

Visit for more information on utilization trends, recipe ideas and technical information to spark creativity in using U.S. cheese in new and innovative ways.

About U.S. Dairy Export Council
The U.S. Dairy Export Council® (USDEC) is a nonprofit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Funded primarily by the dairy checkoff program through Dairy Management Inc.TM, the mission of USDEC is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products. USDEC accomplishes this through programs in market development that build global demand for U.S. dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. USDEC is supported by staff across the United States and in Mexico, South America, Asia, Middle East and Europe.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital status, military status, and arrest or conviction record.