Year over year, the value of imported cheese shipped to the Philippines increased by 13.9% in 2015 compared to $79.8 million during 2014.
The Philippines generated a mere $1.5 million in cheese exports, a very small percentage compared to the island country’s $90.8 million worth of imported cheese for 2015.
The four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code (HTS) prefix is 4406 for cheese (a product category which technically also includes cheese curd).
Read on to find out learn the most popular types of cheese bought from international sources. Also learn which country singlehandedly supplied over half of Filipino cheese imports during 2015.
Imported Cheese Cravings in the Philippines
When it comes to tastes in different types of imported cheese, Filipinos prefer aged cheeses over common processed cheese and fresh unripened cheese.
Below are the most popular types of imported cheese by category.
- Aged cheese: US$47.8 million (52.6% of all Filipino cheese imports)
- Grated or powdered cheese: $14.4 million (15.9%)
- Ungrated and unpowdered processed cheese: $14.2 million (15.6%)
- Fresh unripened cheese: $14.1 million (15.5%)
- Blue-veined cheese: $304,000 (0.3%)
Grated or powdered cheese is the fastest-growing type of cheese imported into the Philippines, up 301.8% from $3.6 million in 2011. The only other category to increase in value over the 5-year period was aged cheese posting a 57% improvement.
Purchases of fresh unripened cheese declined by -31.8% from 2011 to 2015, trailed by a -25.7% drop for already thin import sales for blue-veined cheese.
Imports of ungrated and unpowdered processed cheese were flat, sporting a modest -0.7% decrease.
Top 10 Suppliers
By far, New Zealand accounts for highest value of international cheese sold to the Philippines. Together with the nine other countries below, the following top 10 buyers accounted for 97.5% of total cheese bought by Filipino importers for 2015.
- New Zealand: $49.4 million (54.4% of all cheese imported into Philippines)
- United States: $14.6 million (16.1%)
- Australia: $11.4 million (12.5%)
- Denmark: $3.2 million (3.5%)
- France: $3.1 million (3.4%)
- Singapore: $2.4 million (2.6%)
- India: $2.3 million (2.5%)
- Uruguay: $855,000 (0.9%)
- Italy: $759,000 (0.8%)
- Indonesia: $611,000 (0.7%)
Overall, cheese imports into the Philippines grew in value by almost a third from 2011 to 2015, up 30.8%.
Singapore was the fastest-growing supplier of cheese to Filipino customers, boasting a 5,671% increase from $41,000 in 2011 to $2.4 million. In second place were cheese exporters in Uruguay with a 4,400% gain followed by a 1,214% appreciation for cheese providers located in India. Indonesia is close behind with a 1,001% improvement in the value of its imported cheese sales to the Philippines.
Exports delivered from the Philippines’ largest cheese provider, New Zealand, expanded in value by 38.7% from $35.6 million in 2011 to $49.4 million during 2015.
Among the top 10 cheese suppliers to the Philippines, only two decreased in value over the 5-year period. Sales sourced from Australian dropped by -8.3% while imported cheese from Italy depreciated by -8.2%.
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Agriculture – Products (including cheese, and by country supplier, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 26, 2016
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on August 26, 2016
Wikipedia, Cheese. Accessed on August 26, 2016