More fresh NZ milk flown into China

The Hastings Mail - - OUT & ABOUT - GER­ARD HUTCHING

More New Zealand fresh milk is wing­ing its way to China as an­other com­pany en­ters the mar­ket, bring­ing the to­tal amount to more than 60,000 litres a month.

Chi­nese-owned Milk New Zealand has se­cured a trad­ing agree­ment with the world’s largest on­line re­tailer Alibaba to mar­ket its fresh milk di­rect to Chi­nese con­sumers.

Com­pany man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Terry Lee said it was an­tic­i­pat­ing pro­duc­tion of about 20,000 bot­tles per month un­til the end of 2017 when pro­duc­tion would lift to about 80,000 bot­tles per month by the end of 2018.

There will be a two-price struc­ture, with reg­u­lar Alibaba mem­bers pay­ing $8 per litre, but there would be a spe­cial price to ‘‘VVIP’’ mem­bers of $8 per two litres.

The VVIP chan­nel con­sists of about 570,000 mid­dle to up­per­class fam­i­lies. Sales of the milk will be launched this week us­ing a live we­b­cast to con­sumers.

‘‘This is also the first time Alibaba will pro­mote a fresh prod­uct di­rectly via live we­b­cast to its VVIP mem­bers and, as such, this col­lab­o­ra­tion has cre­ated a new model of how to pro­mote New Zealand fresh prod­ucts di­rectly to Chi­nese con­sumers,’’ Lee said..

The live we­b­cast will be trans­mit­ted from the farm near Hamil­ton where the milk is pro­duced and al­low con­sumers to see the level of an­i­mal wel­fare and en­vi­ron­men­tal care that goes into milk pro­duc­tion.

The milk is branded as The­land Farm Fresh Milk and has a shelf life of 16 days.

Lee said the milk should ar­rive in cus­tomers’ hands within 3-4 days of pro­cess­ing. The com­pany has car­ried out tri­als us­ing couri­ers who de­liver the milk di­rect to homes, and there had been no con­tam­i­na­tion is­sues.

He hoped the new ven­ture would be an ex­am­ple for other fresh pro­duce ex­porters to im­i­tate.

Re­gard­ing the is­sue of lac­tose in­tol­er­ance in Asians, Lee said a younger gen­er­a­tion of Asians who had been ex­posed to cows’ milk was less in­tol­er­ant than their par­ents.

Auck­land-based com­pany Oravida has been ex­port­ing about 40,000 litres of fresh milk a month to China for four years. Both Milk New Zealand and Oravida use pro­ces­sor Green Val­ley Dairy. Gen­eral man­ager Cor­rie den Har­ing said the com­pany pro­cessed a range of dif­fer­ent types of milk.

Milk New Zealand’s The­land-branded fresh milk in now avail­able in China.

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