Belgian production of milk powder, cheese and butter increased in 2017

Agriculture & fishery
Belgian production of milk powder, cheese and butter increased in 2017

Production of semi-skimmed milk, chocolate milk, yoghurt and fermented milk in decline

The production of milk powders has increased by 8.8 %. The rise for other milk powder (74.3 %) and unskimmed milk powder (52.9 %) is particularly striking. The production of natural cheese and farm butter has increased by 8.9 % and 5.5 % respectively.

The total production of consumer milk has decreased by 2.0 %. This decrease is mainly due to the lower production of semi-skimmed milk (-5.4 %), chocolate milk (-11.4 %) and skimmed milk (-2.4 %).

Milk with added vitamins (22.3 %) and desserts (7.5 %) register notable increases, while the production of soft cheese, yoghurt and fermented milk has dropped by -15.3 %, -3.8 % and -3.9 % respectively.


Despite a decrease, consumer milk, milk drinks and fresh dairy products remain by far the most important products in the Belgian dairy industry. In 2017, the total production of consumer milk, chocolate milk and milk with added vitamins amounted to almost 843 million litres.

Fresh dairy products such as yoghurt, fermented milk drinks, cream and desserts accounted for a total production volume of 582,000 tonnes. Besides, 228,000 tonnes of milk powder were produced, as well as 111,000 tonnes of cheese, 91,000 tonnes of butter and 30,000 tonnes of condensed milk and whey. These products are made based on approximately 4.6 billion litres of cow's milk, 149 million litres of cream and 89 million litres of skimmed milk, including imported deliveries.


With 29 %, semi-skimmed milk remains the most important milk drink, followed by consumer cream with 16 %, fermented milk with 15 %, whole milk with 14 % and chocolate milk with 8 %. The share of milk with added vitamins as well as that of the production of yoghurt remain limited to 3 % and 4 % respectively.

The production share of goat's cheese in Belgium is relatively limited, but still registered a significant growth of 37 %. In order to produce 8,000 tonnes of goat's cheese, 68 million litres of goat's milk were collected in Belgium and aborad. The share of Belgium's own goat's milk is limited to 49 %.