According to trade data from the US Census Bureau, a record of over 441,000 metric tons (MT) of US dairy was shipped to Southeast Asia in 2018, making the region the second largest export destination for US dairy products, just behind Mexico, which topped the list. Canada and China followed closely behind.

The Southeast Asian dairy market is composed of the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. Of the six countries, 32 percent of US dairy exports to Southeast Asia can be attributed to the Philippines, which imported a total of 142,649 MT dairy products, composed of both cheese products and dairy ingredients such as milk powder, whey, and lactose.

2018’s dairy exports to Southeast Asia amounted to $771 million, a 12 percent increase from 2017’s figures. In the last two years, US dairy export revenue from the region spiked to $100 million.

Breaking down the 441,000 MT of US dairy product exports to Southeast Asia, cheese exports accounted for a record 19,000 MT and dairy ingredients accounted for 421,800 MT.

Of the 19,000 MT of cheese in Southeast Asia, 38 percent was shipped to the Philippines (from 4,552 MT in 2016 to 7,145 MT last year), making the country the top destination in Southeast Asia for US cheese. The same can also be said for US dairy ingredients as 32 percent of exports were sold to the Philippine market at 135,504 MT.


“We’ve experienced a steadily increasing level of consumer awareness and familiarity with cheese and cheese consumption in the Philippines,” as per the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

“There has also been strong retail penetration of different varieties of US cheeses, in particular American original cheeses such as Monterrey Jack, and we have observed that there has been a rising enthusiasm in the foodservice sector towards embracing globalization, creating innovative dishes incorporating US cheese as an ingredient in local cuisines.”

According to USDEC, customer demand, in both cheese and dairy ingredients, can be attributed to brand loyalty and growing awareness of US dairy products.

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