OPINION: Appease the Chinese and protect your export trade, like dairy products, or infuriate them and face sanctions.
The 1L product is available at 18 Alibaba’s Hema Fresh supermarkets, alongside Fonterra’s fresh milk produced from its China farms.
The milk is mostly sourced from Theland’s Tahi Farms – formerly Crafar Farms – and processed by Green Valley Dairy in South Auckland.
Theland Farm Fresh Milk business is run by Theland New Cloud, a joint venture between Milk NZ and Alibaba Group of China.
Terry Lee, managing director of Milk NZ, says the new company was formed to source and export quality NZ produced food products to China.
“The Hema Fresh supermarkets are an exciting initiative, combining internet and technology powered shopping.
“Everything happens through a mobile app – from ordering for home delivery to instore product research, even payments,” Lee says.
Theland Farm Fresh Milk is available in 18 Hema Fresh supermarkets in Shanghai, the QR code on the packaging giving consumers insight into where and how the milk is produced.
In January this year, Fonterra announced it was selling fresh milk, sourced from its China farms, in Hema’s 14 stores in Shanghai and Suzhou.
Fonterra’s fresh milk in China comes in 750ml bottles; the product carries unique product labels to match each day of the week so as to emphasise freshness, with stock being replenished overnight ready for each new day.
The co-op says initial volumes are now about three tonnes daily, with plans to scale-up over time and expand with the retailer as it grows its footprint of stores across China.
Lee says food quality and safety is of paramount importance to Chinese consumers; New Zealand is recognised as a country with very high food safety standards and natural resources.
“Theland Farm Fresh Milk is NZ-made fresh milk produced from pasture farmed cows which graze on the Theland Tahi Farm Group’s and other farms. It is processed by NZ milk processor Green Valley Dairy, bottled in 1L bottles and airfreighted to China, arriving at Hema Fresh supermarkets 72 hours after it left the farm.
“Our milk will be on display alongside milk produced by a Kiwi cooperative from Chinese farms; currently Theland Farm Fresh Milk is the only fresh milk in Alibaba’s Hema Fresh stores which has been produced in New Zealand.”
Between 6.5 and 10 tonnes of Theland Farm Fresh Milk is now exported to China each week; 160t has been exported since September 2017.