Finnish dairy pioneer Valio has started exporting lactose-free milk powders meant for the consumer market in China. Valio’s products are the first lactose-free milk powders on the market. Valio milk powders will be available from China’s leading online grocery stores.
“Compared to the rest of the world, people in China do not use milk products that much yet, but their usage is growing constantly. This also serves to increase awareness of lactose intolerance and its symptoms. Valio is a global pioneer in developing lactose-free products, and the demand for our expertise is growing in China”, says Kari Finska, Senior Vice President for Valio.
“Even though we are a new face in China’s highly competitive consumer market, the opportunities in China are significant. At least 80% of the population is lactose intolerant. Initially, the export amounts will be small compared to other Valio exports.”
Valio has a long tradition in China. It has been exporting milk and whey powders to China for industrial use since 1991. Since 2008, Valio has had a Chinese subsidiary, Valio Shanghai Ltd. Most Valio Shanghai customers are in the baby food industry, which has extremely high quality requirements for its ingredients, based on taste, composition, microbiological quality, traceability and purity.
Online sales play a significant role in China
The Chinese market is unusual. Online sales have a larger turnover than anywhere else in the world, and over 10% of retail sales are generated online.
“Imported groceries are a large part of online shopping, which only makes it natural to make our products available in that way”, says Finska.
Competitive advantage from Nordic purity
Valio has advantages in the Chinese consumer market in that its tasty, high-quality, lactose-free products are based on extensive product development know-how.
“Our Nordic origin has special significance as well. Chinese consumers value purity and safety in their groceries. The fact that our products are made from Finnish milk from farms that are owned by Finnish families speaks to the Chinese consumer”, says Finska.
A glass of warm milk
Valio is providing Chinese consumers with three lactose-free milk powder options: skimmed, semi-skimmed and whole milk powders. In China, people drink their milk warm. A glass of warm milk is a common way to start or end the day. The long shelf life of Valio milk powders is a benefit for consumers who are not daily users of milk.
More about Valio: www.valio.com
Valio’s Chinese website is available at www.valio.com.cn.