The consumers of UHT milk are those who require to store milk for a long period of time. Due to apartment culture in the developed countries, people have less time for shopping and prefer to buy groceries in bulk. Milk is one such food item which finds its consumption everyday in many households but needs proper preservation. UHT milk facilitates the consumers to store it for a long time as it has a shelflife of six to nine months, which is the key reason for its increasing market globally.
The global UHT milk market has been very volatile in terms of competitive environment in the past few years due to large number of mergers and acquisitions. Presence of private label companies has increased price competition in the market, especially in European countries such as Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the U.K.
The market in China, which imports large quantities of UHT milk, is growing at a faster rate, thus attracting market players to increase their investment in the country. Some of the other major milk markets in Asia-Pacific region, such as Australia, India and Pakistan are also expected to witness increasing demand for UHT milk, though the current consumption levels in these countries are very low as compared to the overall milk consumption in these countries. Increasing urbanization and the apartment culture has led to the growing demand for UHT milk. Weak global economic conditions is yet another factor boosting the consumption of UHT milk, as consumers are switching to UHT milk from pasteurized milk due to cheaper price. Also, while the total milk consumption is declining in some of the developed countries of Europe, the same is increasing in Asia-Pacific. This is expected to give healthy growth opportunity for the UHT milk market.
Increasing population coupled with growing income in developing countries such as China, India and Pakistan has changed consumer habits in favor of packaged food products. This has also resulted in rise in the apartment culture in these countries, where people generally stock packaged food and beverage items. In the western countries, consumer prefer to stock packaged and processed food items due to their longevity and ease of use.
The Asia-Pacific countries are also following the same trend which is witnessed by their increasing preferences for the processed food and beverage items. Over 60% of the total milk consumed in China is UHT milk. The global urban population, which was over 690 million in 2011, comprises about half of the population of China. The country is expected to add another 300 million to 400 million people to the urban population by 2030. As compared with the rural population, the urban population is more influenced by the western cultures owing to their better income levels. Thus, increasing urbanization is further expected to escalate the demand for UHT milk in China. Australia is another country which has a growing UHT milk market, though the share of UHT milk was only about 10% of the total milk consumption in 2012. However, it is expected to increase in the forecasted period.