The Valio products, available on Chinese ecommerce sites, are the first lactose-free milk products on the market.
In China, consumption of milk products is still growing, as is awareness of lactose intolerance.
Opportunities for Valio
Valio senior vice president Kari Finska said that although Valio is new to the competitive Chinese consumer market, there are still many opportunities, as it estimates that at least 80% of the population are lactose intolerant.
Valio does have a history in the Chinese market, however, having exported milk powder and whey powder for industrial use since 1991. In 2008, Valio set up a subsidiary, Valio Shanghai Ltd.
Most of the customers of Valio Shanghai are in the baby food industry.
China e-commerce sales are the world's largest, with more than 10% of retail sales through online store.
“Imported groceries are a large part of online shopping, which only makes it natural to make our products available in that way,” Finska said.
Valio is providing Chinese consumers three different options for lactose-free milk powder: skimmed, semi-skimmed, and whole milk powder. The new products have a long shelf life for consumers who do not use milk on a daily basis.