Interview: Chinese consumers are "more and more sophisticated": New Zealand Dairy GM of Product

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-15 17:36:59|Editor: ZX
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by Lu Huaiqian

AUCKLAND, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese consumers are "more and more sophisticated" compared with before, while focusing on the transparency and traceability, Roy Van Den Hurk, general manager of product from Milk New Zealand Dairy Ltd, told Xinhua on Friday.

It is the second time for Roy to present top dairy products at the China International Import Expo (CIIE).

The Second China International Import Expo (CIIE), held from Nov.5 to 10 in Shanghai, has "increased our milk products sales sharply," while "spilling over into fourth- and fifth-tier cities and small towns in China," said Roy.

"Chinese consumers are more and more rational when making the shopping choice among all kinds of dairy products. They focus on transparency and traceability of the supply chain and on the food safety and purity. These are the key points for selecting the imported milk products. These are what we found during the second CIIE."

Roy joined Milk New Zealand at the start-up and has been with the company for more than 7 years. Roy has a solid background in the New Zealand food industry.

He is proud of his new creation -- the new limited selection CIIE Product "Theland 4.0 Protein Pure Milk." When Roy introduced the benefits of New Zealand milk, he became quite popular among all kinds of Chinese on-line media news press, and became the leading KOL (key opinion leader, a popular terminology for internet celebrity) on the CIIE forum.

"We launched 'Theland 4.0 Protein pure UHT Milk' through our CIIE New Product Launch Platform, as the new global nutrition level. This product is only produced from selected farms," he said. In November 2019, Theland won the "Most Impactful Brand of the Year" in the Dairy Industry Asia-Pacific Awards 2019.

China is by far the world's biggest importer of milk, bringing in over 14.6 million tons last year, almost 20 percent of the global total import, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and it is set to overtake the United States as the world's biggest dairy market by 2022, according to Euromonitor research.

However, Chinese consumers are not putting just any cow's milk in their shopping bags, increasingly, they are reaching for higher-quality products, alternatives with greater benefits, such as high protein, more nutrition, cost effective and so on.

Milk New Zealand has seen its sales jump significantly since the first expo.

"Our products at China International Import Expo this year has increased considerably. We sent twice the number of staff to CIIE this year compared with last year, and our booth area was increased by 50 percent. There were also several highlights of our new products and new service. This year, we signed agreements for more than 300 million RMB on the first day of the Expo. We also exceeded 1 billion RMB within two days, exceeding the total trading value of the Expo last year."

It usually takes more than seven days for New Zealand fresh milk from milking to China.

"The trade facilitation policy of the CIIE helped our fresh milk go straight from New Zealand to China within 72 hours. The sales of fresh milk increase from 3,000 bottles per week before the CIIE to 80,000 bottles per week after we entering the CIIE, an increase of 26 times."

When Roy enjoyed his "Internet Celebrity" moment, he shared his comments about CIIE.

"We can confidently say that without CIIE, Theland could not have achieved such rapid development in the Chinese market. Also, our Theland products could not have reached the thousands of homes and families in the fourth- and fifth-tier cities and small towns."