The basis and primary condition of the production level worldwide is the stability of domestic consumption, therefore the size of milk production is determined by the domestic milk consumption apart from smaller or greater exceptions. The aim of this research is to accomplish an international market segmentation based on the volume of milk product consumption. Segment forming variables were the three-year average per capita consumption volumes of liquid milk, cheese (including cottage cheese), and butter in the particular national economies. 46 national economies and the European Union (EU28) were included in the research. After completing the segmentation, our further aim was to characterize the formed segments by the following macro factors: gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, gross national income (GNI) per capita, life expectancy at birth, crude mortality rate, unemployment rate, and consumption expenditures of households as a percentage of gross domestic product. Based on our results, three clusters were identified that significantly differ from each other. The first cluster includes those countries where liquid milk, cheese, and butter consumption per capita are low. The second cluster contains those nations in which per capita consumption can be seen as medium level, Hungary is in this group. In the third cluster we can find countries with high per capita consumption compared to the sample. The formed segments show significant differences according to both GDP and GNI. In the case of segments with higher milk product consumption the means of GDP and GNI are significantly higher on purchasing power parity. In the countries where a higher proportion of gross domestic product is consumed the volume of milk product consumption is lower, while in those countries where a lower proportion of GDP is consumed, the per capita volume of milk product consumption is higher. We found a significant difference among the segments according to the life expectancy, too; life expectancy increases in line with the increase in per capita milk, cheese, and butter consumption. In case of the unemployment rate, we could not find any significant differences among the segments. To sum up, we can conclude that consumption of the examined product categories can be seen as medium in Hungary, i.e. our country belongs to the second segment. Beside Hungary, we can find seven further post-communist countries in this segment that shows the cultural similarity of the region. An important strategic task for Hungary is to increase milk product consumption by the means of communal marketing tools. The consumption of milk products can reach a stable growth path via an appropriate positioning and conscious communications. To reach this goal, the image of the category has to be put in order and healthiness and nutritional advantages of milk products have to be highlighted, then consumer misbeliefs have to be corrected.
Hungarian Dairy Journal. 2018. 75 (1) 43-54.