Greek milk market steadily shrinking

Greek milk market is on a free-fall course, Christos Apostolopoulos, president of the Federation of Greek Dairy Products Industries (SEVGAP) told ANA, adding that the market was steadily falling in the last few years.

“There is a steady fall in consumption in the Greek milk market, which could be justified during the first years of recession by the fact that consumers were cutting spending on food products. But since milk is a basic food product, we were surprised to see that in 2016 milk consumption, in all categories, fell by around 10-12 pct,” Apostolopoulos said. He attributed, partly, this development to a 15 pct drop in new births in Greece.

Market turnover also fell by 12-17 pct in 2016, Apostolopoulos said adding that first evidence so far this year showed that the problem remained, although smaller compared with 2016. Milk sales volume was down 6-15 pct and value was down 10-12 pct in the first quarter of 2017.

He noted that domestic demand has been reduced strongly and the only way out for milk industries was to export and to invest on the production of new, innovative products. “Because of the economic recession, the market hardly sees new products, since companies are reluctant to invest in new technologies and equipment. This does not mean that they do not invest, but not at the pace they used to. It is a ageing market, brand-wise,” he said.

Apostolopoulos expressed his concern that the number of milk producers fell to around 3,000 in the country, with a total production of 600,000 tons in 2016, down from 700,000 tons a few years ago.