Ireland eyes larger chunk of Chinese dairy market

Updated: 2016-09-09 11:17

By Wang Mengzhen(

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Ireland eyes larger chunk of Chinese dairy market

Ireland's agriculture minister Michael Creed T.D. in an exclusive interview with in Embassy of Ireland , Beijing on Sept 7, 2016. [Photo/]

Ireland's agriculture minister Michael Creed T.D. says the European nation has become a leader in selling infant formula in China and is looking to expand its stake in the premium market, as Mr. Creed is leading a trade mission to China with 30 Irish enterprises.

China is Ireland's third largest overseas market in food and drink, behind only Britain and the United States. Last year, Ireland became the second largest supplier of infant formula to China, after taking the place of New Zealand, data from the Irish food board Bord Bia shows.

"We have food that's produced in the most environmentally sustainable way in the dairy site. We are the most carbon efficient producer of milk on the planet," said Michael Creed in an exclusive interview with in Beijing, as he leads a delegation of 30 Irish enterprises on a trade mission to China. The Irish food authorities have initiated the "Origin Green" scheme, targeting sustainability in its nationa-wide food sector.

Ireland's agri-food exports growth in China nearly tripled between 2012 and 2015. Mr. Creed says the figure continues to be encouraging in the first half of 2016. Among other positive results, cooperation between enterprises in the two countries has strengthened.

A good case in point is the memoranda signed between Chinese state-owned dairy giant Sanyuan and Ireland's Dairygold. It comes after Ireland-based global food company Kerry Group launched the "Green Love" infant formula brand with its Chinese partner Beingmate in 2014.

"There is a lot more about the linkage between Irish and Chinese institutions in terms of research and technology, which will help diversify food sources in China," the Irish minister added. "We also learned a lesson from the 'Brexit' that we were excessively dependent on the UK market, and now we need to search for new market."