The 20 largest global dairy companies processed about 25.4 percent of the world’s 2017 milk production, according to a biennial report from IFCN, an international dairy research network. The companies processed about 211 million metric tons (MMT) of milk in 2017, up from 200 MMT in 2015.

Natzke dave
Editor / Progressive Dairy

Estimated milk intakes represent milk volume collected and dairy commodity purchases (in milk equivalent) for the main company and its subsidiaries. Milk intake estimates may be overstated due to inclusion of milk sourced from a collecting co-op and sourcing milk in form of dairy products. A metric ton is 2,205 pounds (1,000 kilograms).

U.S.-based Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) stayed atop the latest list (Table 1), processing 29.2 MMT of milk in 2017, estimated to be about 3.5 percent of the world’s total milk production. Fonterra and Lactalis ranked second and third, respectively, also unchanged from the previous ranking.

top 20 milk processors

Compared to 2015, Saputo increased intake by about 2.1 MMT of milk through the acquisition of the Australia’s Murray Goulburn.

Amul, from India, is a new entry in the Top 10 rankings, moving from 13th in 2015 to ninth in 2017. It processed 9.3 MMT, thanks in part to growing milk intakes, as well as IFCN’s new formula to standardize milk intake to 4 percent milkfat and 3.3 percent protein.


Two Chinese milk processors, Yili Group and Mengniu, increased milk intakes by a combined 1 MMT since 2015, together processing 13.6 MMTs.

Estimated turnover ranges between $0.5-$2 (U.S. dollars) per kilogram of milk in 2017. The 20-company average was about $1 per kilogram.

The IFCN Dairy Research Network, with partners in 95 countries, provides globally comparable dairy economic data and forecasts.

Read also: Rabobank: Mergers and acquisitions shuffle Global Dairy’s ‘Top 20’  end mark

Dave Natzke