The launch of the ‘Green Love’ infant milk formula brand from Kerry Group represents the start of a new and exciting business opportunity in China for the Kerry Group, according to the organisation’s CEO for Asia Edmond Scanlon.

The product will be sold by the Beingmate company, China’s foremost retailer of infant formula and associated nutritional products for children. The launch event was held in the Chinese city of Hang Zhoa with Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney in attendance.

“The unveiling of the new brand represents the culmination of a 12-year relationship with Beingmate and a €100 million investment programme on our part,” Scanlon said.

“The new product is the first infant milk formula to be wholly developed and manufactured by an Irish business. Our new plant at Charleville has a 15,000t capacity and it is our intention to secure this level of throughout as quickly as possible.”

The Kerry representative also confirmed that the company has plans to develop similar products with a range of other retail consortia, all aimed at the infant nutrition market throughout Asia.

“This is phase one of an exciting project for the group as whole,” Scanlon continued.

“We are also targeting markets in the Middle East and Africa.”

Beingmate General Manager Mr Huang Tao explained that Green Love Plus will be sold throughout China courtesy of the company’s 100-strong team of distributors.

“We have had a long relationship with Ireland. Chinese consumers recognise the quality of Irish dairy products. And, on that basis, I am confident that our new infant formula will be in strong demand,” he commented.

“We will be selling Green Love Plus as a premium product. It has been specifically formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of Chinese babies. This represents an additional selling point in the market.”

The event in Hangzhou marked the recent introduction to Chinese consumers of the ‘Green Love’ infant formula product which is produced at Kerry’s new €40m state of the art facility in Charleville, Co. Cork. The development of this site, which has created 100 new jobs, was supported by Enterprise Ireland as part of its support for dairy processing facilities.

Minister Coveney said the Kerry brand is synonymous with the success of the Irish agri-business and dairy sectors and they are world leaders when it comes to securing added value from Irish milk.

“This partnership emphasises the best of Irish dairy knowledge in that it takes an already successful experience of supplying ingredients to infant formula manufacturers to now manufacturing the final product with all the stringent controls and standards required.

“It demonstrates yet again that the Irish food sector can produce highly complex value added products for world markets”