China enjoys farm-fresh dairy products from swissmooh
Home to about 450 cheese varieties, the secret of Switzerland's renowned dairy products starts at the farm. Swiss cows feed only on fresh hay and grass, while the government bans artificial processes such as the use of hormones and genetically modified organisms. Leading dairy farm organisation Nordostmilch and its daughter company swissmooh embodied this commitment to quality when it entered China in 2012. Instead of using distributors, the company opted to open its own stores in Qingdao to ensure the mainland gets the same product quality as in Switzerland.
"We have complete control over the whole value chain," says Rene Schwager, managing director of swissmooh. "We can trace the end-product back to the specific farmer."
The company achieves such traceability as its mother company, Nordostmilch, represents about 3,000 farming families in Switzerland. Accounting for about 15 per cent of overall Swiss milk production, the independent dairy farmers association created swissmooh in 2011 to lead the group's expansion into the Asian market starting in China and Thailand.
"We chose Qingdao because we wanted our first experience to be in a smaller city before going to nearby markets like Shanghai or Beijing," Schwager says.
The store offers various milk and cheese products such as the famous Emmentaler AOP, the easy-melting raclette cheese and cheese fondues. The store's success prompted the opening of another swissmooh outlet in Qingdao.
Looking beyond China, swissmooh has also established a branch in Bangkok early this year and is looking to other Asian markets such as Indonesia. It is keen on working with companies that have access to premium retail channels with excellent cold chain logistics.
"We can provide access to a whole supply network for dairy products from Switzerland, including promotional support," Schwager says. "We see enormous opportunity as we plan to raise our exports tenfold in the next five years."