Emerging Dairy Powerhouse in Asia

Korea is a new dairy powerhouse that is leading the emerging market in Asia.

We are able to produce high quality milk thanks to an excellent natural environment that includes superb weather conditions.
We continue to expand dairy production through the cooperative efforts of dairy farmers, companies and government agencies.
That includes strengthening the industry’s foundations and capabilities through ongoing R&D and investment.
Meanwhile, consumption of dairy products is rising steadily due to lifestyle changes as more people begin to incorporate
dairy into the country’s traditional food culture.

As in many other countries, Korea's dairy sector faces challenges such as increasing productivity,
improving supply-demand management systems, innovating distribution structures, and increasing consumption.
To successfully navigate such challenges, companies are investing in R&D and dairy farmers are paying greater attention to milk quality,
eco-friendly practices, and animal welfare. Government efforts also contribute to improving the dairy sector by focusing on collaborations and support.

Dairy farming in Korea has great potential for further growth. Building on our role as a leader in Asia’s dairy market,
we are ready to contribute to the progress and development of the international dairy sector.
Going forward, we will work together to pioneer dairy for the next generation!

Fun Facts

  • First recorded reference to drinking milk : 5th -6th Century, Goguryeo Dynasty
  • Korea’s modern dairy sector began in 1902 with 20 Holstein cows
  • First modern milk processing facility was built in 1937
  • 5,300 dairy farms, over 404 thousands cows
  • Average annual milk production : over 2 million tons
  • Average milk/dairy consumption per person: 76.4kg annually

Key Facts & Figures

  • Dairy Farming

    • Key figures

      Key figures
    • Cow’s milk prices

      Cow’s milk prices

    Processing industry

    • Cow’s milk deliveries

      Key figures
    • Main processors

      Cow’s milk prices
    • Production

      Key figures
    • Production

      Key figures


    • Export

      Key figures
    • Import

      Cow’s milk prices


    • Population

      Key figures
    • Consumption

      Cow’s milk prices

    Processing and trade

    • Summary (see general remarks)

      Production Import PExport
      Volume(X 1000 tonnes) 2016 (2015~100) 2016 (2015~100) 2016 (2015~100)
      Liquid milk 1673 102 1 107 6 151
      Fermented products 520 87 1 99 7 105
      Cream 29 76 22 244 3 56
      Butter and butteroil 2 67 8 150 0 182
      Cheese 5 64 110 98 0 85
      Whole milk powder 2 85 4 172 0 30
      Skin milk powder 9 50 21 97 0 671


    • GDP (Purchasing power parity)

      GDP (Purchasing power parity)
    • GDP Sector Composition

      DP Sector Composition

Trends & Challenges (2016)

With low birth rates and increased beverage options for consumers, the dairy industry faces challenges which are shared by a growing number of markets around the world. IDF WDS Daejeon 2018 aims to promote discussions on these and other common trends.

Raw Milk Production
Recently, despite favourable weather and feed costs, total dairy farm and cattle numbers shrinked due to a measure aimed at balancing production and consumption. As a result, milk production continued to decline over the past 3 years, with total milk production in 2016 falling to 2070 thousand tons (-4.5% on 2015)
Korean milk production costs hit a record in 2013 and have been kept high for 3 years: they are currently 1.5 – 2 times higher than those in advanced countries. Dairy production prices have also been kept stable for the last 3 years.
Consumption Trends
Due to economic down turn, a low birth rate, and anti-dairy campaign, dairy consumption is declining every year. The Korean dairy industry has been trying to obtain support for promotional strategies, such as promotional events, proce reductions, and protests against anti-dairy campaigning.
Dairy Policy
To encourage continued consumption of milk and dairy, the government put in place measures such as retail sales promotions, market expansion policies, and milk price cuts. It also implemented a temporary quota reduction with a view to reducing milk surplus.
Milk supply and demand will remain balanced for 3 years thanks to a measure aimed at balancing production and low domestic consumption. Dairy consumption will decrease in line with population decline, a low birth late, and consumers’ increasing preference for beverages other than plain milk.

Source : National Committee of the IDF, Korea Dairy Committee, Comtrade, Trade Map, IMF, World Bank, PRB