nd dairy regulation decreased, driving a new incentive and ability to trade with other nations.
s a result, the dairy market tends now toward undersupply.
But from December 2013 to February 2014, Chinese demand grew to 20-25% of all global dairy imports, with much of the supply coming from the US and New Zealand.
New Zealand is the world's largest dairy exporter, accounting for nearly one-third of the global dairy trade.
Many of the nation's cows graze in fields, and a big drought in 2013 caused national milk production to plummet nearly 30%.
The US started exporting more dairy, capturing more international market share but pushing up domestic prices.
It's not all bad news for New Zealand, though. Traditionally, when the price of dairy goes up, farmers expand operations and produce more milk, thus lowering prices down the line.
The increase in supply could eventually lead to cheaper prices in the US, but not for several months.
US franchises including KFC, Ihop, Subway, The Cheesecake Factory, Jamba Juice and Papa John's Pizza have all staked claims in the Middle East, with more chains looking to follow.
A young, newly urbanised population in the Middle East is demanding more dairy imports.
That removed an estimated $6.6bn (£4bn) in annual dairy trade from the global market. In 2013, the EU alone exported $3bn of dairy to Russia, of which cheese accounted for more than one-third.
In response, the European Commission has announced it will provide financial support to the dairy industry, subsidising private storage of cheese, skimmed milk powder and butter until they can be sold at a later date.
But it will take a little while to see those changes reflected in American supermarkets.