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Churning out milk from grass to the glass

“Dutch people drink a lot of milk by nature and they have a love for milk. It has been part of their daily lives for many years and we don’t know what life would be without milk,” he said.

“I joined FrieslandCampina because what I learned from my previous work. I believed I could help the company to go to a different level. Working for the stakeholders, in this case farmers, is something I appreciate,” he said.

Recently, he spoke to China Daily about the company’s e-commerce expansion plans in China and emerging opportunities in smaller Chinese cities.

The following are the edited excerpts of the interview.

Do you have any expansion plans in China in the next few years?

We obviously want to expand further into infant formula, but we also would like to enlarge the other categories, predominantly food service, cheese and ultra-heat treatment milk. We would like to put more effort behind those three categories and diversify our business, but at this time, the most important category to play with is infant formula and we should not lose focus on it.

What are your competitive advantages over other international and Chinese brands?

FrieslandCampina is not in the game of volumes, but into value creation. In China, we primarily focus on infant formula, because we believe that we can create a lot of value there in how we control our quality and the safety of our product line. We are one of the few producers who control the total full dairy chain, so it’s from grass to glass.

Do you mainly target high-income consumers?

Overall, we target consumers with higher incomes. For Friso (the company’s high-end infant and toddler formula brand), we still focus on first and second-tier cities in terms of distribution and we can still do a better job on that. For Friso, we can go deeper and wider into the Chinese market and use e-commerce to reach out to other consumers.

For example, our cooperation with Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd helps us reach out to those consumers in some third to sixth-tier cities where we don’t have any distribution. In these cities, we also target to reach higher income consumers. In the future, we might reach out to the rural areas.