Nestlé Japan is considering forming a partnership with the country's largest dairy ­ Snow Brand ­ in a bid to strengthen its product portfolio and boost its presence in the market. The Swiss food giant said it had started "exploratory talks" with the Tokyo based dairy over an "extensive business alliance up to and including participations in some of Snow Brand's dairy based businesses". The Japanese firm was responsible for the worst outbreak of food poisoning in the country for 30 years, and it is hoping an association with Nestlé will restore consumer confidence in the Snow Brand name. Discussions will focus on combining Snow Brand's market position and product range with Nestlé's technological and production expertise in milk, chilled products and ice cream. Coffee, confectionery and pet food currently generate most of Nestlé's sales in Japan. Snow Brand president Kouhei Kishi said Snow Brand would benefit from Nestlé's "know-how in all parts of production" ­ notably hygiene. His comments follow a recent government commissioned survey revealing more than 10% of Japanese milk plants failed to meet acceptable hygiene standards. Before the food poisoning scandal, which left 15,000 people ill with sickness and diarrhoea, Snow Brand was expecting to post full year profits of 11bn yen. Shortly afterwards it was forecasting losses of some 47bn yen. Full details of its tie up with Nestlé should be announced by the end of the year. {{NEWS }}