From grass to glass: New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra finds new opportunities at CIIE
The China International Import Expo (CIIE) has been a “great opportunity to show the benefits of open policy,” as well as the “grass to glass” model of Fonterra, the company's Commercial Vice President in Greater China Paul Washer told CGTN on Tuesday.
Fonterra is one of the world's largest dairy producers, and is a cooperative owned by more than 10,000 farmers back home in New Zealand. While this year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, it also marks 40 years since Fonterra entered the Chinese market.
Washer told CGTN that Fonterra “needs to be part of the second largest economy in the world,” describing China as “a must… a strategic must for us, it's not a choice anymore, we just have to be here.”
If you're in China and have bought dairy products, shopped at bakeries or even visited the latest “wanghong” milk tea shop, you've probably tasted Fonterra without even realizing it, with the company partnering up with brands like Yi Diandian and Hey Tea.
China Daily reported in September that Fonterra was planning to triple sales of its consumer brand Anchor in China, with Christina Zhu, president of Fonterra China, saying the company had sold “nearly a billion glasses of milk” in the past five years.
With such a strong position already in the Chinese market, what is Fonterra looking to achieve at the CIIE? Washer told CGTN that not only is the expo a great chance to showcase new products to consumers, it is also “a great chance to mix with other people and other businesses.” Washer told CGTN that the CIIE was “an opportunity to do some deals,” with the company sealing around 12 billion yuan (1.73 billion US dollars) of commercial transactions.
Looking ahead to the future, Washer said that Fonterra was looking forward to more transparency of regulations from China's reform and opening up, as well as its role in the Belt and Road Initiative as part of the Belt and Road Dairy Alliance, which was formed in June this year.
Washer also pointed to how future technology on traceability will see real benefits in bringing fresh produce to consumers, saying “there is no doubt that that technology will move very quickly.”
The company entered a blockchain pilot project with Alibaba in April this year, aiming to allow Chinese consumers to trace products purchased and imported from New Zealand online.
Fonterra already has a significant presence in China's e-commerce sector, making 55 percent of its overall sales online.