Kerrygold-branded whole milk is to be sold in China by the Irish Dairy Board.

Milk using the Kerrygold Chinese trade mark 金凯利 (pronounced Jin Kai Li) will be sold through major Chinese retailers, regional shopping networks and e-commerce retailers under a new deal revealed today (4 November)

The move  – announced by Irish minister for agriculture, food and the marine Simon Coveney as part of an Irish trade mission to Beijing - will be supported by a marketing campaign focusing on craftsmanship and the quality of Irish dairy and will see the product pitched as a premium imported item.

Irish Dairy Board (IDB) spokeswoman Jeanne Kelly said an in-store visibility and sampling programme, search engine marketing and a social media campaign would be supported by plans to double the number of IDB staff in China by next year. It currently employs 15 operations, marketing and sales staff in Beijing, Shanghai, and at its HQ in Shenzen.

The Chinese liquid milk market is estimated to be worth €18bn with annual growth of more than 10%. More than 11 billion litres of liquid milk are consumed in China each year, compared with just 670 million litres in Ireland [IDB]. 

“We plan to make Kerrygold whole milk as widely available as possible,” said Kelly. “There are few more significant countries than China in terms of opportunity for dairy growth and we see considerable potential to develop our business, not only in liquid milk, but also in cheese and butter,” she added. “China will provide an immediate route to market for additional milk Irish farmers will produce when milk quotas are removed next April.”

Minister Coveney said the abolition of milk quotas heralded an exciting time for the Irish dairy sector.

“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,” he added.

“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.”