Valio eyes China expansion outside of its infant nutrition base

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

Most Valio Shanghai customers are in the infant formula and baby food industry. ©iStock
Most Valio Shanghai customers are in the infant formula and baby food industry. ©iStock

Related tags: Milk

Finnish dairy firm Valio is seeking to expand out of its infant nutrition base in China by exporting lactose-free milk powders. 

The company says its products are the first lactose-free milk powders on the market and 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”,​ said senior vice president Kari Finska,

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 been exporting milk and whey powders to China for industrial use since 1991 and established a Chinese subsidiary, Valio Shanghai Ltd, in 2008.

E-commerce channels

Most Valio Shanghai customers are in the infant formula and baby food industry.

Finska said online sales would be a priority, with over 10% of China’s sales coming through e-commerce channels.

“Imported groceries are a large part of online shopping, which only makes it natural to make our products available in that way,”​ added Finska.

The company also believes its European heritage will serve it well in the country. 

“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,” ​said Finska.

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