Fonterra is incorporating dairy protein and probiotics into new foodservice offerings at the request of innovative customers, foodservice vice-president for Greater China, Justin Dai, says.
At the annual China Business Summit in Auckland, Dai said foodservice products traditionally contain cream, cheese and butter.
New product lines are being developed by Fonterra’s 50-strong team of Anchor Food Professionals (AFP) in China, incorporating protein and probiotics.
It is early days yet and protein and probiotics are not widely available in the foodservice products suite.
A leading bakery chain wanted probiotics in some cakes, so the AFP application centre in Shanghai developed that option within the cold chain.
It was to add a nutritional selling point to normal cream cakes, Dai said.
Other foodservice customers wanted higher protein content in their biscuits and waffles, which Fonterra AFP centres are developing.
“Traditionally foodservice products have to be delicious, but now they also can be nutritious,” he said.
“We bring health and wellness into the recipes and the customers like it very much.”
Fonterra is drilling down into more Tier 3 to Tier 5 cities and earlier this year opened a fifth application centre in Shenzhen, in the south, where many large Chinese beverage companies are located.
At the end of the financial year in a few days’ time, Fonterra foodservice will be in 470 Chinese cities.
The territorial expansion still favours China’s eastern seaboard, Dai said, notwithstanding the suggestion by China’s ambassador to New Zealand, Dr Wang Xiaolong, that New Zealand companies move further west.
When choosing where to expand, Fonterra looks at demographics, incomes and numbers of potential customers and quick-service restaurants already established.
Its sixth and seventh application centres will be built and opened within a year, he said.
Dai is in NZ to visit the Fonterra Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North and the Auckland head office.