Worldwide demand for dairy products has risen 15% by volume since 2003 and will likely continue to grow, although not as intensely, according to a report fromZenith International.

Growth took place across all five product categories studied. The biggest increase was in spoonable yogurt, up 23% over the last five years. The second-biggest was in ice cream, up 18%, with the majority of additional sales coming from Asia/Australasia and the Middle East. Cheese, at 18.2 million tons consumed in 2008, is the largest single segment in the report.

The Zenith report forecasts an increase of 10% in dairy consumption by 2012, with yogurt rising by 16%. It identified a number of economic and market factors influencing market patterns, including: growing populations and prosperity, leading to greater demand; rising costs and climate change, causing supply instability; and consumers placing more emphasis on functionality in dairy products, along with convenience and healthy indulgence.