The Netherlands: Rabobank Global Dairy Top 20 2021

The Rabobank Global Dairy Top 20 2021 shows that the combined turnover of the top 20 industry leaders fell by just 0.1 percent in US dollar terms, following the prior year’s 1.8 percent gain. In euro terms, the combined turnover decreased by 1.9 percent. Merger and acquisition activity slowed in 2020, with approximately 80 announced deals versus the prior year’s 105. Privately held Lactalis unseated long-time industry titan Nestlé as the world’s largest dairy company. Consumer sentiments are being heard, and many companies included in the Global Dairy Top 20 have made sustainability commitments for 2030 and carbon-neutrality commitments for 2050. The sales growth of liquid milk and yogurt alternatives – especially oat- and almond-based alternatives – have not gone unnoticed. Most significantly, Danone’s turnover in dairy alternatives, following its acquisition of WhiteWave Foods in 2017, was recorded at EUR 2.2 billion (10*9) (USD 2.5billion) in 2020, a gain of 15 percent compared to the previous year. Adding these sales would lift Danone to third position. The designation of dairy is also becoming more blurred as hybrid products, containing both dairy and plant-based ingredients, enter the marketplace. Rabobank anticipates investment activity to stay robust in the on-trend channels and categories, including specialty cheese, innovative dairy ingredients like human milk oligosaccharides, dairy alternatives ranging from plants and fermentation to cell-based, and lifestyle nutrition. In addition, acquisitions in adjacent sectors, such as logistics and inventory management, are likely, according to Rabobank. In the past two decades, the Global Dairy Top 20 saw consolidation as a constant, and this is expected to continue. From 2001 to 2020, the combined turnover of the top 20 companies more than doubled, expanding by 3.8 percent annually. From 2010 to 2020, China rose, evolving as a dairy-consuming nation and the world’s largest dairy importer. The two Chinese dairy giants – Yili and Mengniu – have ambitious growth targets and are proactively looking for overseas growth opportunities.

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