Kerrygold milks new market as products hit Bejing shelves
IT is found on almost every supermarket shelf in Ireland but now Kerrygold butter can be purchased in downtown Beijing.
Creamery butter, cheddar cheese and long shelf-life milk are now journeying more than 8,000km as the Irish Dairy Board (IDB) targets the growing appetites of China's burgeoning middle class.
"We see tremendous growth opportunities for premium quality Irish dairy products into what is a very exciting market," Liam O'Brien, communications manager with the board, said.
Over the past five years, the board has intensified its focus on China with the opening of an office in Beijing in 2010. The products -- all under the Kerrygold brand -- can be found in retailers in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen.
"China is an important market for us and we are committed to investing in our business development. It is a competitive market -- New Zealand dominates dairy exports to China and there are some large domestic Chinese dairy companies such as Mengniu, Yili and Bright Dairy that are successfully driving China's domestic milk production, which is forecast to grow at about 4pc per year," Mr O'Brien said.
China is now the world's largest importer of milk powders -- with 446,039 tonnes, of which 85pc hailed from New Zealand.