The new export permits allow Valio to export its powdered infant formulas, manufactured at the Lapinlahti plant, and ready-to-feed liquid infant formula, made at the Turenki plant, to China.
Valio has exported milk powders and demineralised Valio Demi whey powders for industrial use in China since the 1990s. Finnish milk powders have been used, among other things, as ingredients for local baby food. In 2017, Valio started to also export consumer-packaged milk powder to China.
Jussi Mattsson, Valio’s category SVP, said, "We want to strengthen our position in China as a trusted supplier of high-quality industrial ingredients. At the same time, we are building a consumer product market.
“Naturally, we are looking to generate new revenue, but profitable growth does not happen in the blink of an eye. Valio is, as of yet, an unknown brand in China, so there is a lot to do. In the first phase, we are engaging in negotiations with potential customers.”
He added, “Competition for consumer attention between dairies is heated. In China, online stores, markets and baby supply store shelves are filled with choices from dozens of manufacturers. Valio’s strengths include Finland’s pure natural environment and extremely high-quality milk, provided directly by our owners, 5,000 Finnish dairy farms. Chinese parents want, most of all, safe food for their children.”
Many Valio production plants have already received approvals to manufacture milk powder, cheese and butter for the Chinese market.
“Acquiring export permits for our baby foods is a result of many years of work. Success in the approval process required seamless cooperation between various Valio functions and Finnish authorities.
“It’s important that the Finnish authorities continue to have sufficient resources for supporting corporate promotion of exports. Cooperation with the Chinese authorities went well, and their audits of the Valio plants were carried out with the highest level of scrutiny. All in all, the process took four years,” Mattsson said.