Glanbia plc is projecting a large increase in liquid milk sales across China, with Avonmore milk now on the shelves, according to Group CEO Siobhan Talbot.

Speaking at the official launch of its UHT liquid milk offering in Shanghai this week, which was included within the itinerary of the Irish agri-food Trade Mission, she confirmed that the 1L packs are selling for the equivalent of €3.50 in retail outlets.

“We are offering a premium product which, over time, will return a premium return to this business. We have developed strong commercial links with the Milkmore trading operation in China. It has 50 distribution outlets and is also very active on-line. The milk we are selling is sourced from our new UHT plant at Lough Egish in Co. Monaghan. Our R&D team has worked to develop a UHT milk which is as close to fresh as it is possible to get in terms of taste and quality.”

Avonmore is offering Chinese consumers two liquid milk products: a full fat (3.5%) option and a low fat (1.5% fat) alternative. Both branded products have been featuring on retail outlets, primarily in the Shanghai area, for the past month.

“And it’s a case of so far, so good,” explained Glanbia Consumer Foods Commercial Director Michael McArdle.

“All of this has been made possible courtesy of the €15 million investment programme undertaken at Lough Egish. The new plant has a UHT processing capacity of 100 million litres of milk. In addition to China we are already supplying UHT milk to France, Libya and England.

“But China is a market with tremendous growth potential. During the period ahead we will be looking to supply that country with alternative pack sizes and a range of our fortified milk drinks.

“All of these product offerings will be specifically developed to meet the expectations of consumers in China.”