The investment is funded by US dairy farmers and processors and envisioned as a gateway for cross-border collaboration
Aerial photo of Singapore city skyline
Singapore city skyline

The US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) has announced the launch of the US Center for Dairy Excellence (USCDE) – its first overseas physical investment. The USCDE in Singapore is funded by US dairy farmers and processors and envisioned as a gateway for cross-border collaboration between the dairy community in the US and Southeast Asia’s food and beverage stakeholders, the culinary sector, health professionals and other partners.

The USCDE will focus on inspiring regionally tailored nutrition and innovation solutions with US dairy ingredients and cheeses to meet evolving consumer needs.

The investments in the centre will also pave the way towards the future of food, committing to sustainability, deploying technologies, strengthening collaboration, and applying the latest consumer research.

USDEC’s president and chief executive, Secretary Tom Vilsack, said: “The US Center for Dairy Excellence creates an education hub and meeting place where relationships can be developed and strengthened, where we can share market intelligence and insights, spark ideation, lead research, and share the remarkable story of US Dairy’s sustainable production.”

Secretary Vilsack said the initiative represents a long-term commitment by the US dairy industry to the region and exports and the recognition of the importance of Southeast Asia as an innovation hub.

Vikki Nicholson-West, executive director, USDEC Singapore, said: “Southeast Asia’s dynamic and innovative food sector is a key reason we selected it for the first USCDE, along with a deep appreciation for relationships formed over two decades. We hope the Center becomes a valuable resource that enables Southeast Asian customers, consumers and US dairy suppliers to thrive together in the future food ecosystem.”

US dairy products in Asia

The US dairy products – cheese and dairy ingredients, such as milk powders, dairy protein, lactose and permeate – have seen a steady climb in Southeast Asia in recent years. In 2019, the region was the second-largest destination for US dairy by volume after Mexico, with an export value of $934 million.

US dairy exports to the region grew in value by $250 million from 2017 to 2019 and are on track to finish the year with record high value. Southeast Asia is well on pace in 2020 to be the top market of US dairy exports by volume.

“US dairy has played a crucial role in the food ecosystem and the economy of Southeast Asia over the past two decades,” said Dalilah Ghazalay, regional director, USDEC Southeast Asia.

Ghazalay explained the organisation will focus on glocalization by innovating with local ingredients to better suit local taste preferences. “We look forward to the opportunity to work with and innovate alongside our customers,” she added.

While social distancing guidelines remain in place in Singapore, virtual programming from the USCDE will commence on 18 November with an online seminar on healthy active ageing with US dairy proteins, featuring nutrition experts from Singapore and Japan.

Date published: 22 October 2020

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