Global consumption of dairy products is likely to increase in 2009 despite the ongoing recession, according to the latest market research by Tetra Pak.

The firm’s Dairy Index suggests that total global consumption of milk and other liquid dairy products will be 1.3% higher than last year at 263bn litres, up from 258bn litres in 2008.

Tetra Pak predicts that total global LDP consumption will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.2% from 2009 to 2012. Growth will be greatest in developing markets such as China, India and Pakistan, while established markets such as Europe and North America will face a tougher future, it said.

The UK remains the third-biggest milk market in Europe, with over 6bn litres consumed annually. Tetra Pak says UK consumers have slightly reduced their consumption of white milk, resulting in a small volume decline in milk volumes of 1% year-on-year.

“We are also seeing a change in consumer purchasing habits. They are showing less brand loyalty, and are instead shopping around for the best deals, regularly changing brands to meet their budgets. Brands are starting to tap into the increasing consumer demand for ‘quick fix’ functional milks with notable health benefits.”

Anders Olsson, director of marketing and product management, Tetra Pak UK & Ireland, said: “The dairy sector needs to focus more on driving consumer engagement and improving the consumer experience. The current state of mind is auto-pilot which is why the market is currently so flat.

“Through an innovative approach to category management this will help drive consumer engagement and milk consumption as they become more educated of the health benefits milk can offer.”