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Coveney Continues Dairy Offensive in China

Game Changing Irish Products launched on Chinese Market

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D., maintained the focus on promoting Irish dairy products and infant formula on the fifth and final day of the Irish agri-food trade mission in China. Joined by Siobhan Talbot, Group CEO of Glanbia PLC, Minister Coveney met this morning with Mr Zheng, Managing Director of Milkmore, the distribution partner for Avonmore in Shanghai, to mark the launch of a long life (UHT) Avonmore milk on the Chinese market

Welcoming the launch, Minister Coveney said: “The launch of the distinctive Irish Avonmore brand in China is another boost for the Irish dairy industry. Avonmore milk will bring the highest standards of dairy safety and traceability to consumers in China and represents the best of Irish-Chinese partnership in the dairy sector. Strong Government support exists in both China and Ireland for investment and collaborative partnerships in the dairy and wider agri-food sectors. Such partnerships offer benefits for all sides in terms of production and trade, collaboration, safety, food security. I welcome the now numerous and mutually beneficial partnerships that have evolved and continue to evolve, such as that in evidence here today between Glanbia and MilkMore.

Speaking in Shanghai, Siobhán Talbot, Glanbia Group Managing Director said “Glanbia is delighted to be bringing the great taste of Ireland’s favourite milk and cream brand directly to consumers in China. At Glanbia we pride ourselves on our full traceability from grass to glass. By partnering with MilkMore, Glanbia can also guarantee Chinese customers and consumers full traceability from farms in Ireland directly to glasses in China”

The product is being produced in a new,-state-of-the-art factory in Lough Egish, County Monaghan, which was developed with the support of Enterprise Ireland. The market for imported UHT milk into China has grown strongly in recent years. Demand has increased four-fold in the last four years as Chinese production of milk has failed to keep up with the rapidly growing demand in China.

Avonmore will be sold in traditional supermarket stores but also through distribution channels specific to China. These include milk shops, small stores that only sell fresh and long life milk; premium supermarkets in major cities; TV shopping channels; and through online retail platforms. Online sales of UHT milk have seen the largest growth in recent years. Glanbia Consumer Products division has partnered with MilkMore, which is a local distributor and retailer of dairy products in China based in Shanghai.

The Minister also met with senior executives from Bright Foods, a state owned Chinese Consumer Foods Giant, and a key strategic partner for Glanbia in China.

Moving the focus to infant formula, the Minister met with Mr. Frank Wu, Greater China President of Wyeth Nutrition, which launched its “Illuma” infant formula product in China last May. The product is manufactured in Askeaton in Co. Limerick, and, with an estimated export value of €180m, is Ireland’s largest single export to China. The Wyeth manufacturing plant in Ireland has recently been admitted to the “Origin Green “ Programme which is a key element in enhancing Ireland’s reputation for quality, safety and environmental sustainability in China.

At the concluding event of the trade mission, Minister Coveney visited the Abbott Eleva Store in Shanghai, to mark the official launch of its “Eleva Blue” infant formula brand in China. The product is manufactured at its facility in Cootehill, Co Cavan.

Commenting after the event, the Minister said “I am delighted to celebrate the vision of science partnering with nature which is represented by the high quality premium products offered by Abbott Nutrition. Abbott is a key player in Ireland’s dairy industry, with a long tradition in the manufacture of premium quality infant formula and an Irish heritage stretching back some 40 years”

As part of the launch, Minister Coveney provided a letter of endorsement on behalf of the Irish Government highlighting Abbott’s reputation as a supplier of premium dairy product and ingredients produced to the most rigorous food safety and reliability standards. Minister Coveney said “I was pleased to supply such a letter of endorsement for Abbott, one of the key investors in food production in Ireland, as they embark on this latest phase of international development. The sustainability claims which lie behind Abbott’s story and how they turn Irish milk into a high value product is the culmination of many years of research and investment in technology. This new entry into the finished infant formula market in China is good news for their suppliers and like investments in other Irish dairy processing facilities bodes well for jobs and investment in rural Ireland in the coming years”.

View this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 169/2014 (pdf 122Kb) 

added 07.11.14Left: Minister Simon Coveney with Ambassador of Ireland to China, HE John Paul Kavanagh, Siobhan Talbot ,Group CEO of Glanbia PLC and Mr Zheng, Managing Director of Milkmore, the distribution partner for Avonmore in Shangai, at the launch of a life long (UHT) Avonmore milk on the Chinese market









added 07.11.14Right: Minister Simon Coveney with Mr Zheng, Managing Director of Milkmore, the distribution partner for Avonmore in Shangai, and Siobhan Talbot, Group CEO of Glanbia PLC at the launch of a life long (UHT) Avonmore milk on the Chinese market

Date Released: 07 November 2014