Trade flows of dairy productsThe import volume of milk and cream fluctuated over the last few years, amounting to approximately 182 thousand metric tons in 2020. Poles most enjoyed Lithuanian and German milk products; the leading partners constituted over 80 percent of milk and cream import value in 2020. In terms of export value share, Polish milk and cream products were mostly present in German and Chinese markets.
The export value also differed across the years in the cheese segment, peaking at nearly 930 million U.S. dollars in 2018. Czech, German and Ukrainian consumers especially favored Polish cheese. These three countries account for around one-third of export value share. Poland has also been open to trying foreign cheese products which can be observed in the increasing cheese and curd import volume.
Towards plant-based dairy alternatives?Between 2019 and 2020, there was a significant increase in the share of households that turned to plant-based alternatives. In 2020, almost 30 percent of Polish families chose plant-based dairy, whereas approximately 19 percent favored eco and bio-dairy products. Affordable price and taste similar to that of traditional dairy were among the most important characteristics of plant-based alternatives. At the same time, attributes such as an attractive packaging design or interesting product name did not bother those who opted for plant-based dairy substitutes.
In terms of particular segments, non-dairy milk consumption was most prevalent among Poles aged 25 to 34 years old. On the contrary, Polish seniors were least in favor of non-dairy milk, with only two percent consuming plant-based alternatives of cow's milk at all times. Cheese plant-based alternatives - for instance, products made from cashew nuts - were not particularly enjoyed in Poland. When given the choice between purchasing traditional cheese products and their non-dairy substitutes, nearly seven in ten Poles always chose traditional cheese.