Maintaining growth in and building upon the potential of the Asian infant formula market will become more and more difficult, according to Andre van Troost, Director of International Marketing and Communications with Lely.

Speaking at the National Ploughing Championships, the Dutchman who has spent the last number of years working with Danone, said that while the Asian market for infant formula is growing, so too is China’s capacity to produce and manufacture its own infant formula.

However, he said that the number one growth market for infant formula is China, and that European product, both dairy and brands, are extremely popular in China. Ireland’s big advantage in the Asian market for infant formula, he said, is that it’s a non-Asian-based producer of dairy produce.

“But I don’t know if it’s maintainable, as China is constantly increasing its production and manufacturing facilities. It doesn’t want too much product coming from abroad, so it’s crucial that any processor has a foot in the door in China already.” Danone, where van Troost spent the last number of years working, relies on China for a significant amount of its infant formula market and turnover.

Closer to home, the Dutchman, who spent 10 years in Somerset, says the other big growth market for infant formula will be South America, particularly Brazil. However, he warned that it is dependant on economic stability which is often missing from the region.