LOCAL cheese manufacturers will have the chance to showcase their products directly to the rapidly expanding Chinese dairy industry thanks to a joint initiative between Monash University and Soochow University in China.
Run by the universities’ Australia-China Joint Research Centre in Future Dairy Manufacturing, the Cheese Symposium will be held in October in Beijing.
The event will give Australian manufacturers the chance to network with China’s largest dairy operators and obtain vital information about the cheese preferences of Chinese consumers.
According to China’s largest food manufacturer and host of the event China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) there’s still a general lack of awareness of how to consume cheese products in China.
COFCO acting director of consumer insight and market research Fei Guo said “a parent purchasing cheese for their child might not understand why a product is hard or soft – is it due to processing or the protein content?”
“Manufacturers will need to educate Chinese consumers on how to use their product and must explain why their product is good enough to choose,” Dr Guo said.
Australian companies must also meet consumer needs while complying with the strict standards, laws and regulations imposed by Chinese authorities.
“A company can’t simply change a format or ingredient to satisfy the regulations before entering the market,” Dr Guo said.
“They must also thoroughly understand consumer needs and preference first.”
Currently valued at $350 billion and experiencing strong growth, the Chinese dairy market is expected to be worth almost $500b in 2020.
With Japan recently eliminating a range of tariffs on Australian cheese imports, entry into the Chinese market could further strengthen the quality footprint of Australia’s dairy industry in Asia.
The Cheese Symposium is expected to be attended by global dairy giants such as Fonterra, Arla Foods and Mengniu, plus European agricultural research institute INRA.
The event offers Australian manufacturers a unique opportunity to access the research and networks required to ensure a successful entry into the burgeoning Chinese dairy market.