The increasing household incomes change the volume and the structure of the human consumption. There is a strong correlation between the changes in diet and the rapid urbanisation. Moving to the urban area often coincedes with a higher level of lifestyle which in turn can decrease the share of the agriculture labor force. Nowadays, more than half of the population lives in urban areas, but this share can be 70% until 2050 (FAO, 2011). Milk and dairy products are major items in the changing consumption structure. The consumers with mostly starch based diets are likely to shift to higher added value products when their income per capita increases. Majority of these products are milk and dairy or meat products. On the supply side, weather shocks can abruptly change the production volume and as a supply shock, they may increase the food price volatility. In the recent years, the gap remained constant between the production and the consumption, thus food prices have decreased (FAO, 2017). Between 1960 and 2010, the population has increased by some 230%, while the meat consumption by 450% (from 65 million tons to 290 million tons) (OECD – FAO, 2017). While the meat production and export are expected to increase moderately, the EU milk production may expand by 1% and its share from the international agricultural trade will increase in the future. The EU’s dairy sector aims to achieve a more marketoriented framework, which affects the Hungarian stakeholders as well. The processing and retail segment can be characterised with high concentration and strong bargaining power in general. Dairy sector appears to be purely demand-driven. The level of the individual stakeholders’ cost price is not taken into account during the market’s price setting, which creates strong competition. In the next years, higher market competition and further concentration are expected. Market position will be determined by one’s competitiveness and the level of cooperation among the stakeholders.
Hungarian Dairy Journal. 2018. 75 (2) 3-21.