Food Union launches export of dairy products to China

Parallel to ice cream export, Latvia’s leading dairy company Food Union has commenced regular exports of dairy products to China, consolidating its positions in Shanghai supermarkets. Food Union is the first dairy company in the Baltic countries that has been able to bring its milk products to the Chinese market.

Export of dairy products to China is the second consecutive step by Food Union to enter the new market. Although it took longer than starting the export of ice cream there, this is undeniably the largest – in terms of export volume – and most important development for the company. If all goes as planned and we continue to increase our exports, China will soon become one of our key export markets,says Normunds Staņevičs, Chairman of the Board at the joint-stock company Rīgas Piena Kombināts.

Food Union is exporting to China UHT milk (milk pasteurized at ultra-high temperature, which ensures longer shelf life) under the Limbažu Piens and Rasa brands in 200 ml packaging, sold at Shanghai premium supermarkets in sets of 16. Food Union products are marketed in China as the highest-quality milk from Latvia – a country in Europe with traditions of organic milk production spanning many centuries, known for its green and beautiful nature.

Starting this past June, Food Union shipments to China are delivered in containers two to three times a month. Around 300 tons of milk is to be delivered to China by the end of the year. It is hoped that China could become one of the five largest export markets of Food Union in a year’s time, which would enable the company to partly compensate for its losses suffered as a result of Russia’s embargo on dairy products.

The Chinese market of dairy products is estimated to be worth EUR 45 billion, and it continues to grow 10% annually. Milk and yoghurt account for at least a half of this volume, the rest is made up of powdered milk and other dairy products. Food Union is planning to expand its export portfolio next year by also launching export of UHT yoghurt, cream cheese and other products to China.

Food Union is the largest dairy company in Latvia and the leading ice cream producer in the Baltic countries. Food Union Group includes the three largest dairy and ice cream producers in Latvia – Rīgas Piena Kombināts, Valmieras Piens and Rigas Piensaimnieks, the largest Estonian ice cream maker Premia, Denmark’s largest ice cream producer Premier Is, Norwegian ice cream maker Isbjørn Is, Romanian ice cream company Alpin57Lux and Belarusian ice cream producer Ingman Ice Cream. The total turnover of Food Union Group amounted to EUR 256 million in 2015, 60% or EUR 158 million of which was generated by the Baltic companies. The group employs more than 2,500 people, of which over 1,200 work at the Baltic companies. 

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