Chinese dairy giant Yili will pay $588 million for dairy co-op Westland Milk, it was announced overnight.
The company, located just south of Auckland, is exporting at least 20 tonnes a week to China.
“We are just upgrading some lines at the moment to be able to significantly increase that area,” he told Dairy News.
The milk is flown direct and marketed in the clear PET bottles (similar to the Lewis Rd bottles Green Valley packs).
“It showcases the product…. It looks like a glass bottle and the product really shines.”
In China consumers pay about the equivalent of $10 for a 1L bottle or $20 for 2L.
While the product tends to be bought by more affluent Chinese, den Haring says imported fresh milk is increasingly becoming mainstream.
“There is still a lot of mistrust of food products and a high degree of authenticity and trust is required within that supply,” he explains.
The main consumers of fresh milk are children, and because there are many adults per child “much activity goes into making sure that child gets the best; nutrition is high on the agenda”.
“Milk... is fundamentally understood by parents as a good product, nutritious product.”
den Haring says because Chinese distrust their local product they happily buy New Zealand product and, “dare I say it, not just NZ product; Australia is big in this area, sending a lot of fresh milk into China, and [so does] Korea. It is not just NZers.”
Green Valley’s fresh milk goes to about five destinations in China assisted by the number of airlines now flying from China to Auckland, bringing tourists and trade.
“All those planes take people back to China and many products into China… and a lot will have fresh milk on them.”
Green Valley works with well-connected Chinese partners already established in NZ with interests in the dairy industry and/or food products.
“That seems to be a good model.”