There are challenges facing the Irish dairy industry, in order for it to be successful in Asia but there is positives, according to ICOS.

It says that after a recent visit to Vietnam and Cambodia, where the population is over 110m, it is clear there is an opportunity to sell to these countries.

“Combined these countries have a land area less than Sweden and continue to add over a million people to the population each year.”

ICOS has stated that these markets have almost totally different attitudes to consumer dairy in terms of “how they use and view dairy product”.

ICOS has worked with the Chinese mission in Brussels and one of the key messages they have been told is to “localise what you want to sell into the country, taking into account the highly diverse regional differences in China.”

Other co-operatives have impacted on the Vietnamese and Cambodian markets. “Friesland Campina and Fonterra products figure prominently,” ICOS states.

There are positives however, in one super market in Cambodia there was three types of Kerrygold butter on the shelves, it says.

Price wise, even though Asian and Irish incomes vary greatly, ICOS said that “consumer prices are very attractive, especially within the functional food brackets such as infant formula and food for older people”.

ICOS said that in smaller shops many of these types of food products are kept behind the counter.

ICOS also reports that there is specialist ‘dairy’ stores in cities stocking cheese and butter however, these stores stock only products from single dairy companies.