Dairy Industry of Korea

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) 2017 (2015~100) 2017 (2015~100) 2017 (2015~100)
      Liquid milk 1687 102 0 107 0 151
      Fermented products 562 87 1 99 6 105
      Cream 27 76 23 244 1 56
      Butter and butteroil 2 67 9 150 0 182
      Cheese 4 64 125 98 0 85
      Whole milk powder 2 85 5 172 0 30
      Skin milk powder 9 50 23 97 0 671


    • GDP (Purchasing power parity)

      GDP (Purchasing power parity)
    • GDP Sector Composition

      DP Sector Composition

Dairy Industry of Korea

The beginning of dairy in Korea is not known exactly because there are no historical records, but there is a record that milk cow has been cultivated from the time of Goguryeo (37 ~ 668 BC). The actual start of the Korean dairy industry came in 1962 when it imported cows from New Zealand. Since 1962, more than 100,000 cows have been imported for about 20 years, playing a major role in the quantitative development of the dairy industry.

Thanks to aggressive support from the government in the 1960s, the consumption of market milk was steadily increased, and the basis for the production of condensed milk and powdered milk was established to control the amount of milk. In addition, infant formula was produced and contributed to the health of infants.

In the 1970s and 80s, as the production and consumption of milk increased along with the improvement in national income, dairy products became more diverse, including lactobacillus fermented milk, butter as a concentrated food in butterfat, cheeses as high-protein foods, and ice cream. The government's dairy promotion policy, including support for introducing production facilities for dairy products and prohibiting the importation of dairy products except for control of supply and demand, played a major role.

In 1997, the Dairy Promotion Law was established to promote the dairy industry, and Korea Dairy Committee was founded in 1999.
In 2002, with the introduction of the quota system and a more efficient supply/demand management system, Korean Dairy Committee contributes greatly to the stability and development of the dairy industry by creating a stable production environment.