Grass-fed formula charm: Kerry targets infant and healthy ageing growth in China after successful Glanseair formula launch

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Chinese parents are more open to try new formula for older children, said Irish firm Glanbel. © Getty Images
Chinese parents are more open to try new formula for older children, said Irish firm Glanbel. © Getty Images

Related tags Kerry Milk Children

Kerry says it sees significant potential for the children’s formula industry in China, but has also underlined the vast opportunities for high-value dairy products for the healthy ageing sector.

The formula, which is for children three years and above, is developed by Qiaokemei China in collaboration with Kerry Group, and is manufactured and packed in the latter’s facilities in Charleville, Ireland.

Coming in a 800g tin, the product is sold online such as via for RMB$258 (US$39.24), as well as brick-and-mortar stores in China.

“Glanseair Children’s Formula is a new product that we have added to our portfolio of Irish products for the Chinese market,”​ Michael O’Donovan marketing director at Glanbel Import and Export told us.

Glanbel is the owner of the brand Glanseair and Qiaokemei China is the distribution partner of the Glanseair Children’s Formula.

Asked the opportunities that the company sees in China, O’Donovan said: “Irish grass-fed premium dairy product is a unique selling point for the market.”

In addition, parents are more open to try new formula for older children as compared to infant formulas, he said. 

Glanseair Children's Formula 

The product is said to be high in protein and calcium to support children’s growth.

Other key ingredients include prebiotics, DHA, ARA, and lutein, John Reilly, VP Business Development Proteins at Kerry told us.

“We added FOS, a prebiotic, to help the child's digestive system and for a healthy microbiota in the gut. 

“We also added DHA and ARA into the product, which are linked with cognition and brain development and also lutein, which is related to brain and eye development and important for young kids,”​ he said.

He highlighted that grass-fed cows, as compared to concentrate-fed cows, produce more nutritious milk, such as a higher level of conjugated linoleic acid and better ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.

“Kerry has about 3,300 farmers and 95 to 96 per cent of the milk that comes to Kerry for processing is coming from cows which are eating a grass-fed diet.

“The cows are predominantly producing milk during the February/March to September/October period and during that time, they are out in the fields grazing on grass.”

The milk collected is then processed within 24 hours of arrival at the processing site, which helps preserve the freshness of milk.

He added that this is the first time that the company is manufacturing a children’s formula in retail ready format.

This is in addition to the company’s expertise in developing and selling infant/toddler formula for the European and Asian market.

Opportunities in China

Beyond infant and children’s formula, Kerry believes that opportunities for healthy ageing products are also plentiful in China.

On the infant formula market, Reilly pointed out that declining birth rates have led to a slowdown in infant formula sales in the recent years.

Bloomberg ​reported in February this year that the number of registered new-born babies in China had dropped by 15 per cent last year.

“If you look at the Chinese market today and you look at what's happening in the Chinese market today, obviously the infant formula market is still a very big market but it is not growing at the same rate that it was five years ago.

“But these infant formula companies had significant investments made in their manufacturing plants, the technologies and the processes and Chinese people are getting older.  

“When you bring this together, and understand that as people get older, their nutritional needs change. It is clear that there is a growing opportunity for nutritious high value dairy products to support healthy ageing. People are living for longer and they want to live healthier,”​ he said.

In terms of healthy ageing, the needs would surround maintaining cognitive health, mobility, and eyesight.

“I think there is a lot of headroom for development and growth in that whole healthy ageing area, it sits somewhere in between infant formula and specialised clinical nutrition.”

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