Nestlé takes iconic Australian brands to China


By Nichola Murphy
Wednesday, 11 October, 2017


Australian products are gaining popularity in Asian countries, with Nestlé Australia recently announcing it has partnered with one of China’s biggest e-commerce platforms, VIP.com, to launch two Australian brands into the market.

In 2017, VIP.com achieved 23% growth compared with last year when total turnover was over US$8.2 billion. With a customer base of over 300 million, VIP.com’s distribution of Allen’s and Uncle Tobys products in China could benefit Australian farmers, manufacturers and suppliers.

“Our commitment to manufacturing in Australia enables us to draw upon and nurture local supply chains of premium quality raw materials. We’re very proud of our participation in the National Oat Breeding Program, which helps produce oat varieties with higher yields, better disease tolerance and improved milling properties. That program has not only helped us secure some of the world’s best milling oats, it’s helped local farmers,” explained Nestlé General Manager Nutritious Snacks Scott Coles.

“We are optimistic the partnership with VIP.com will lead to solid growth, which is good for farmers, good for their communities and good for Uncle Tobys,” he continued.

This new deal will allow Chinese consumers to have access to Uncle Tobys muesli bars, nut bars, Le Snak and Farmers Pick, as well as Allen’s Peaches and Cream and Snakes Alive, plus medicated lozenges such as Soothers and Anticol. Based on the success of Weet-Bix with international customers in recent years, Nestlé is confident that these two popular brands can make waves in China. It suggests that ‘Made in Australia’ is a label that holds a great deal of influence in the Chinese market.

VIP.com Senior Director International Hillary Wang said that the partnership between VIP.com and Nestlé Australia aims to improve the shopping experience for consumers and provide international products that appeal to them, especially the middle class, who desire nutritional food and drinks.

“Uncle Tobys is one of those unique brands — it has over 100 years’ history, is made from quality Australian ingredients and delivers against Chinese consumer trends of nutrition and convenience,” she said.

Although Uncle Tobys is expected to appeal to Chinese consumers, Coles suggested that it continues to be a competitive market and highlights the importance of social media in promoting the products.

“WeChat has over half a billion users in China and they are deeply engaged in the platform. So Nestlé Australia will be investing heavily in engaging with key influencers and their audiences. We’re keen to reach young Chinese parents, many of whom are very nutrition conscious and have faith in Australian made and packed products.”

This partnership indicates that Nestlé believes the demand for Australian-made foods with high food security standards will continue to grow among the wealthy middle class.

Coles said that the China Free Trade Agreement had paved the way for Australian food producers and manufacturers to sell directly into the biggest middle-class market in the world.

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