Under Meiji's revised Taiwanese business model, revealed exclusively to DairyReporter.com, Meiji Hohoemi infant formula and Meiji Step follow-up formula sold in Taiwan will be manufactured in Japan.
Tokyo-based Meiji, Japan’s largest dairy, has since the 1970s operated in Taiwan, which boasts a ¥35bn (US$330, €255m) infant nutrition market.
Until now, however, infant and follow-on formula sold by Meiji in Taiwan has been manufactured domestically and in the surrounding region.
“Meiji has sold Japanese produced infant formula in Taiwan in the past,” a Meiji spokesperson told DairyReporter.com, “but the current switch is from product not made in Japan, to product made in Japan.”
"High quality and reliability"
As in neighboring China, imported infant formula brands are often held in higher regard by Taiwanese consumers than those produced domestically.
"Taiwanese associate Japanese products and high quality and reliability," said the spokesperson.
“In the infant formula market, these attributes are especially important.”
“Our new business model in Taiwan, selling Japanese produced infant formula, should more closely associate the Meiji brand with high quality and reliability," the spokesperson said.
Despite the importance of these attributes, the Meiji Hohoemi infant formula and Meiji Step follow-up formula manufactured for distribution in Taiwan "are not identical" to Hohoemi and Step products sold in Japan as the “laws and regulations differ between Japan and Taiwan.”
While well established in the Taiwanese infant formula market, Meiji no longer sells infant or follow-on formula in China.
It announced in October 2013 it would pull out of the Chinese infant formula market, blaming pricing pressures.
Pressed by DairyReporter.com, the Meiji spokesperson declined to discuss whether its new Taiwanese business model is part of a longer term strategy to reenter the Chinese market,
"At this time, our focus is on Taiwan and growing our brand in that market," the spokesperson said.