The Irish Dairy Board has announced a major product expansion into the Chinese market with the launch of whole milk under its new Kerrygold Chinese trade mark.
The new product and trade mark was unveiled by Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Simon Coveney at a ceremony in Beijing during the Irish Trade Mission to China.
China will be an immediate route to market for additional milk Irish farmers will produce when milk quotas are removed in April 2015.
Kerrygold Whole Milk will be sold through major Chinese retailers, regional shopping networks and e-commerce retailers.
Research has found that Chinese shoppers responded positively to the image of Ireland as a pure, green island, with clean family farms.
The Chinese liquid milk market is estimated to be worth €18 billion with an annual growth rate of over 10%.
Over 11 billion litres of liquid milk are consumed in China each year, compared with just 670 million litres in Ireland.
In preparation for the removal of milk quotas, the Irish Dairy Board has been expanding its in-market operations worldwide. In the last 12 months alone, IDB has expanded operations in the UK, Spain, Germany, America, Africa, the Middle East and now China.
"We are entering an exciting time for the Irish dairy sector as milk quotas are abolished from next April. The development of premium dairy products and the building of routes to markets, in particular in emerging dairy markets like China, are essential if we are to deliver on our objectives under Food Harvest 2020," commented Minister Coveney.
"IDB's investment in China and the entry of Kerrygold Whole Milk into the Chinese mass market opens up considerable market opportunities for the additional milk we are expecting post 2015," he added.