New Zealand-based Synlait Milk gained access to the Chinese market after China-based Bright Dairy and Foods invested NZ$82m in the dairy food-processor in July this year, giving it a 51% controlling stake.
Michael Wan, marketing and communications manager at Synlait Milk, told Food Navigator-Asia.com that the company has now produced its first infant formula product range from the plant for Bright Dairy.
“The product will go onto retail shelves in Shanghai around mid December. The product brand is called Pure Canterbury and it will be positioned at the premium end of the market, with a retail price of around NZ$80,” he said.
Wan said that the company’s research has shown that there are Chinese consumers that want to purchase high quality New Zealand made infant formula.
“These consumers are willing to pay a premium for the security of having product they can trust,” he remarked, adding that pointed out that China is home to 60 million children under the age of 4.
“Each of those 60 million infants has six adults looking after it, their parents and both sets of grandparents, and there is an enormous concentration of income going into looking after those children and giving them the very best,” he said.
Wan added that Chinese adults traditionally do not use a lot of milk in their diets but they are beginning to realize the benefits of milk for young infants.
On the formulation end of things, Wan said that the product complies with Chinese food standards, which are closely aligned to the International Codex Alimentarius requirements for infant formula.
The milk contamination scandals linked to domestic Chinese dairies has prompted Chinese consumers to look beyond national infant formula manufacturers, including Kiwi dairies who are known for top quality products, Wan said.
And that is why the Canterbury origin will make a difference, he adds.
Wan disclosed that the capacity of the new plant is around 40,000 MT of infant formula per annum, which would be able to meet the demand from China whose “infant formula market is a US$5bn industry.”