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Fonterra to trial ice cream e-commerce sales in China

Dairy company Fonterra will trial online sales of its New Zealand-made ice cream, Tip Top, in China via Alibaba’s Tmall platform.

Distribution will be handled by specialist frozen products distributor Zhuhai Ice Technology.

Taking a flexible “trial and learn” approach using e-commerce will help Tip Top test the brand and products and be ready to capture future growth said Kim Ballinger, director Tip Top.

“China is Fonterra’s biggest market and this trial is a small way we can add to our offering there,” Ballinger said.

Fonterra will targeting the take-home ice cream market, initially launching a 2-litre tub range, and is considering offering novelty sticks and bulk scoop products. Chinese consumers will be able to order six flavours of Tip Top: vanilla, chocolate, hokey pokey, cookies and cream, neapolitan, and strawberry.

“There will be a lot to learn from this trial programme. We know the brand, sales platforms and product formats will need to evolve to suit consumers’ changing needs. But it is critical to get into the take-home segment early, get our systems up and running and learn what consumers want so we can quickly capture opportunities as they emerge,” Ballinger said.

Research from global market research company, Mintel, shows the total market value for ice cream sales in China increased by 90 per cent between 2008 and 2014 to reach US$11.4 billion.

“Our research tells us that Chinese consumers want to know they are buying the exact same product that we eat in New Zealand. The product, packaging and flavours available in China are identical to what we sell in New Zealand which will help us give consumers assurances around quality and authenticity,” Ballinger said.

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