The export value of Dutch infant milk powder to China and Hong Kong has increased a whopping 50 fold in the last 10 years. This is calculated by the Dutch statistics bureau CBS.
This makes infant milk powder the most important export product for the Netherlands to China and Hong Kong. Due to the increased demand, also the total volume of exported infant milk powder to these countries increased.
In the first 7 months of 2015, the export value was 1.1 billion. This is 7 times more than in 2005.
Growth since 2008
The combined share of China and Hong Kong in the Dutch export value of baby milk powder increased from 10% in 2005 to 67% in 2015. Almost the entire growth has taken place since 2008, the year that the milk powder scandal in China occurred. This lead to the death of babies that consumed milk powder that was deliberately contaminated with melamine to artificially increase the protein content of the (diluted) product. Since then, many Chinese people don't trust their own manufacturers any longer and buy infant milk powder from other countries.
Netherlands is main supplier
Netherlands is currently the main supplier of infant milk powder to China and Hong Kong. Since June 2015, China is the most important direct destination for infant milk powder from the Netherlands. This is the first time since March 2013. Also a large part of the exports to Hong Kong eventually ends up in China. However, in recent months, there has been a slight decrease in the combined exports to China and Hong Kong. In June and July of this year, an average of €85 million per month was exported to China and Hong Kong. In the months before, the average stood at €116 million.
Emmy Koeleman studied Animal Sciences at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. She is the editor of Dairy Global and All About Feed.