Small Kiwi firm Biopure Health has gone where no New Zealand company has gone before, claiming a small, but potentially lucrative foothold in the multi-billion dollar infant formula market in China.
The company will open two stores this month, in Chengdu and Panzhihua, when their first shipment of product arrives from New Zealand, the culmination of two years hard work and cutting through red tape. They already have more products in the pipeline and plan to have 10 stores in China by the end of next year.
The difference with this company is that it is New Zealand owned from milk to market, with every stage, including processing, canning and even the retailing done by wholly-owned New Zealand companies, something founder Simon Page says is unique.
“There are a heap of brands in China that are claiming to contain Kiwi milk products,” says Page, “but in the main they are owned by multi-nationals or Chinese investors and aren’t transparent in their supply chain,” he said.
“Many companies just source New Zealand milk products and package it in China. But our research shows, Chinese consumers don’t trust that. They want to know that the product is authentic New Zealand, every step of the way,” says Page.
The company’s creation came after a flood of enquiries from China soon after the Sanlu infant milk formula scandal, which saw hundreds of children poisoned by products that had been padded with dangerous levels of melamine.
Page, who was an analyst at Gen-i at the time, saw the opportunity for Biopure when his partner Jane Li, an online fashion retailer commented on the dozens of requests she was getting from her suppliers across China for infant formula.
“As soon as they heard we were doing business in New Zealand, people were begging us to source infant formula for them. It was clear there was a massive demand for this country’s milk” says Page.
Inspired to action, Page and Li decided to take authentic Kiwi products directly to China, but found reality not as simple as first expected with wholesale supply hard to get and lacking the transparency they were seeking.
It took six months of market research before they came to the conclusion that they needed to create their own brand of infant formula and another 18 months to raise the capital to market it directly in China through their own chain of stores.
They contracted multi-export award winning Auckland company New Image to do the processing and packaging of the product and jointly developed a unique formula range. The first 17,000 cans of infant formula will leave New Zealand in early June with the first two stores opening in July. Biopure will sell online through its own official site, but will not utilise popular Chinese auction website Taobao – again, to protect supply chain integrity.
Page says that the amount of red tape they’ve had to get through can’t be underestimated. “Getting the product certified for importation in China was a lengthy process. They have thousands and thousands of applications awaiting approval. Being a Kiwi definitely helped get me to the top of the pile,” he said.
Page and Li plan to spend the next three months on the ground in China promoting New Zealand and being spokespersons for the company, and have plans for some “Kiwi style shenanigans” to launch the shops. They already have plans underway to expand to include UHT milk and nutraceutical products.
“New Zealand has a global reputation for world class agriculture and the best milk in the world,” says Page.
“We’re proud to be able to take that milk to China with integrity and to do our bit to reinforce that reputation,” he said.
For more information, contact:
Simon Page, Director, Biopure Health; email@example.com; Ph: +64 27 487 2922
PR Consultant, Paul Blomfield, firstname.lastname@example.org; Ph: +64 21 970 871
Jane Li, Business Development Manager, email@example.com Ph: +64 27 666 3392
Biopure Health Ltd
Post: P.O. Box 74628, Greenlane, Auckland 1546
Address: 3-195 Main Highway Ellerslie, Auckland 1060, New Zealand
About Biopure Health
Biopure Health is a 100 per cent New Zealand owned company supplying only the highest quality milk products to the Chinese marketplace. From milk to market, the entire process is New Zealand owned and managed, utilising milk from approved New Zealand farms. Infapure branded products are only available through Biopure Health stores, or the official website www.biopurehealth.co.nz.