NEW ZEALAND – New Zealand’s leading dairy Fonterra, has launched a new fresh milk product in China in partnership with Alibaba’s retail arm Hema Fresh as it plans to rapidly expand with the retailer across China.

According to the company, the new product Daily Fresh will be sourced from Fonterra’s farm hub in Hebei province and availed in Hema’s 14 stores in Shanghai and Suzhou in 750mL bottles.

This comes in response to the growing domestic demand for higher-quality fresh milk products with around 3 metric tonnes of the product produced daily to meet this demand.

“Shoppers here in China are becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of their tastes and preferences, which are being driven by rising household incomes,” said Christina Zhu, President of Fonterra Greater China.

“More than ever before, consumers are consciously seeking products that are fresh, nutritious and safe, and our new product for Hema caters to this,” she added.

Hema’s entry into China in 2016 has seen significant growth in the retail sector due to convenience as consumers can either shop in-store using their mobile phones to browse and purchase, or order online for a 30-minute delivery within a three kilometre radius.

The wide range of products including Anchor UHT milk products and the Anchor Dairy Foods range of butter, cream and cheese items provide a tailored, personalised shopping experience for each customer.

“This co-operation between two powerful companies is set to redefine the concept of fresh milk in the new retail era,” said Hou Yi, Hema Fresh’s CEO and Founder.

“As a global leader in the dairy industry, Fonterra is well-known for quality milk pools, world-class breeding techniques and advanced experience in food safety and quality, which matches well with what we advocate.”

Hou Yi further noted that the strategic co-operation between the two companies would redefine the concept of fresh milk in the new retail era.

“No other multinational dairy company in China has a local milk pool to draw from, so we are in an advantageous position,” said Ms Zhu.

“This milestone with Hema is a sign of things to come and indicates that our push to shift more of our local milk into higher-yielding consumer and foodservice products is well-and-truly underway.”

The new product would therefore strengthen Hema’s stand in the retail market as Fonterra seeks to expand its market cover in China.