The National Chamber of Milk Manufacturers (CANILEC) in Mexico has urged the expansion of the country's agricultural trade agreements with Central American nations. The goal is to boost the sales of Mexican dairy products in these countries. CANILEC reports that milk and dairy derivatives rank fourth in the national food industry's GDP. In 2022, Mexico exported over $853 million worth of dairy products to the United States and Central America. Half of Mexico's dairy exports are baby formulas, making Mexico the global leader in this category. The remaining 50% consists mainly of cheese and yogurt.
René Fonseca, Director General of CANILEC, emphasizes the significance of the "nostalgic market" in the United States, where customers often purchase traditional Mexican cheeses like panela or manchego. On the other hand, Mexico imported $3.3 billion worth of dairy products in 2022, resulting in a trade deficit of $2.5 billion. Fonseca states that approximately 70% of dairy products consumed in Mexico come from domestic sources, while the remaining 30% are imported. To stimulate sales in the international market, Fonseca believes it is essential to expand Mexico's trade agreements with Central America.
Looking ahead, Fonseca identifies increasing per capita consumption of dairy products in Mexico as a primary challenge for the industry. Mary Ledman, a Global Dairy Strategist at Rabobank, suggests that promoting public access to dairy products, including through e-commerce, and creating new attractive products and presentations can help boost industry performance and consumption levels.