Home/Iranian Milk and dairy sector on the rise

Iranian Milk and dairy sector on the rise

Iran was certainly thought to be one of the most promising markets to keep an eye on in the coming years, however, two-figure growth predictions for the immediate future are definitely a news worth noting: in a recent in-depth study by CLAL they analyze the growth of milk and dairy market in Iran, a growth promoted by rapid urbanization and evolution of lifestyle that in turn sees a growing customer interest towards milk and dairy products. An annual growth rate of over 22% within 2021 is expected, thanks for the most part to diffusion of online sales and consumer profiles that gets more and more westernized.

Livestock assets and products

There are around 8.8 million cattle in Iran, with Holtein breed representing 1 million of that, with an average day-to-day production of 32 kg of milk (Source: www.clal.t). Most in-demand products are yoghurt and cheese, besides typical local doogh, a type of fermented milk usually consumed over lunch.


The incentive towards development of milk cattle and agricultural sector at large, comes from policies aimed to decrease the country’s economic dependence from oil sector and natural gas. Thanks to these policies, in 2015 Iran exported around 600 thousand tons of milk and dairy products to 30 countries, for a total value of $ 624 million and that figure is expected to reach 624 million dollars within the end of current fiscal year, thus making Iran the second exporter of the area after Turkey. Main buyers of Iranian milk and dairy products are Iraq in the first place (with 35.505 tons during January-November period), followed by Afghanistan (with 4.879 tons). Iran’s export pie chart shows that the biggest slice made up by yoghurt and buttermilk with 72% of total exports, followed by milk and cream (14%) and cheese (13%).

Once more, we clearly see a strong regional-oriented trend in exports: surely, international market exposure favored by removal of ONU-imposed sanctions will push the country more and more towards investments and trade relationships with major European and North African countries. As a consequence, we also expect to see investments by main milk and dairy operators at an international level, with the building of factories and production facilities in various provinces of the country. As a matter of fact, future looks bright.