(Yicai Global) Oct. 23 -- China is now a major importer and consumer of dairy products. Its dependence on foreign sources was near 30 percent by the end of last year and though per capita intake is only one-third the world average, high overall consumption has brought an indraft of capital into the sector.
The country's milk market logged sales of CNY375 billion (USD54 billion) last year, almost fivefold the figure for 2007, Zhou Zhenfeng, deputy secretary of the Dairy Association of China, told Tencent news media at the China Dairy Industry Capital Forum in Beijing yesterday, adding dairy imports were 15 million tons, while overall consumption was 54 million tons.
The country is gradually recovering from the 2008 milk scandal when infant formula contaminated with the toxic industrial chemical melamine sickened hundreds of thousands of babies, killing six. It led to life imprisonment for the general manager of a dairy company and the shuttering of several processing centers.
Ten years on, the dairy trade is still struggling to win back consumer trust. The sampling qualifying rate of domestic infant formula milk powder has reached more than 99 percent in the past three years. The pass rate of dairy products was 99 percent last year, while that of baby formula was 99.5 percent, Zhou noted.
Editor: Ben Armour