The company, which produces organic milk, UHT milk, flavoured milk and shakes, is now planning to expand its range of products to capitalise on the growth of the brand and will expand in the Middle East.
Significant investment for the firm
Daniel Jones, sales and export manager, UK, Daioni, told DairyReporter, etablishing a team in Greater China is a significant investment for the firm.
“The potential demand for organic dairy produce in the Greater China region is immense and given that we are the first British organic dairy brand to be certified by the China Quality Certification Centre, we decided we should take advantage of our first mover position to capitalize on the market opportunity,” he said.
“It also helped that our co-founder and MD, Laurence Harris’s son, Ben, has lived in Hong Kong for over 15 years with his young family and has taken on a greater role in driving the expansion of the business in the Far East.
“For us, it is very much about getting the message across that we are a family business with our roots firmly in dairy farming: we don’t just sell milk, we produce it on our farm with our own cows. With our hires in Hong Kong and mainland China, we are confident we can get this key message across.”
Competition in the dairy market in the East
Jones added the biggest challenges today include exchange rate swings and free trade agreements between China and other countries that threaten its competitiveness, to logistical issues in getting its milk from the UK to the distributors in Asia.
“We are conscious of the competition in the dairy market in the East – especially mainland China - but we feel we have learnt a huge amount over the number of years we have been in the region, and have a lot of faith in the integrity of our brand and the capability of the team we have put together to ensure we grow from strength to strength,” he said.
“As the farm has grown, we are now in the business of building a brand. It is challenging doing this when you are up against some very serious players in the market, including the major multinationals, with far deeper pockets and more extensive resources.
“It is also a challenge to protect a brand, once it has been established. It is too easy to see how a good reputation can be destroyed by quality control issues. That is why we have been careful to partner with the best processors, packers, logistics companies and distributors to ensure our organic products reach our customers in exactly the way we intend.”
UK milk pricing pressures
Jones said the milk industry in the UK is currently suffering from pricing pressures which ‘will inevitably mean the least efficient dairy farmers, large or small, will be exiting the industry’.
“At the same time we need to maintain efficiency and growth of our farming business whilst still retaining our core values of a family based enterprise,” he said.
“Ultimately, we need to add value over the traditional commoditized milk products in the market and this is where our premium organic brand will be a real advantage for us. R&D in dairy based products continues to be extensive with the current over supply of non-organic milk. We will look to benefit from this research and adapt our NPD accordingly.
“Going forward, there will invariably be regulatory changes in pertaining to the import and distribution of dairy products in the markets we operate in and we will need to be aware of these and how it will impact our business.
“In regards to our export activities – particularly nainland China, one of the significant issues we face pertains to the tariffs imposed upon imports. We are hopeful the UK government can take the lead in negotiating free trade agreements similar to those negotiated by Australia in 2015, which would enhance the competitiveness of British businesses in an increasingly competitive market.”