The California dairy industry has "a tremendous opportunity” in the China market, says Western United Dairymen CEO Michael Marsh, who's just returned from a 10-day trade mission sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB).
The delegation recently held several meetings in China with high level government officials as well as representatives from several manufacturing companies and the restaurant, grocery and hospitality industries. "They were very glad we were there, and expressed a great deal of interest in California milk products,” said Marsh. "They were aware of California's reputation for providing safe, nutritious and high quality milk products.”
The delegation, led by CMAB CEO Stan Andre, included CMAB representatives and other partners such as Fiscalini Cheese Company, Joseph Gallo Farms, Foster Farms Dairy, Land O'Lakes, Leprino Foods, Dairy Farmers of America, DairyAmerica, Challenge Dairy Products and California Dairies, Inc.
The California dairy industry has only been in the Chinese market since May 2008, Western United Dairymen said Friday in its Weekly Update. Recent events, however, involving melamine contamination of Chinese milk products have provided an unexpected opportunity to help meet the growing demand for safe and reliable dairy products.
California currently exports a number of dairy products to China, including butter and a variety of cheeses, and the industry is confident it can compete in the world market.
"We're tremendously excited about the potential of this marketplace,” said Andre. "Increasing our trade with China could greatly increase business opportunities in the years ahead.”
Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.