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MURRAY GOULBURN DEVELOPS NEW FORMULA

Australia's largest dairy company Murray Goulburn has launched and is developing its own "Natrastart" brand of infant formula in China.

MG Nutritionals - a division of Murray Goulburn Co-Operative - has 12 years experience working with infant formula, with customers across Australia and Asia.

Murray Goulburn started its MG China operation two years ago to gain entry to the large infant formula market there.

MG Nutritionals General Manager Peter Hobman said the recent melamine crisis had had a serious impact in China.

"There is a demand for high quality products in China, which is a major market for infant formula with an increasing GDP per capita," he said.

"In Australia we are fortunate to have developed such a high standard of safe practice in our food and dairy industries.

"Murray Goulburn products are tested rigorously to ensure they meet the most demanding of global customer and regulatory requirements. This is proving to be a strategic advantage in the Chinese market.

"Australia is a clean environment and is a highly valued source for infant formula - the world has confidence in Australian products," Mr Hobman said.

Mr Hobman said that over the last 12 months MG Nutritionals had developed and commercialised many new products, including new flavours and line extensions of its ProForm range of Formulated Meal Replacers.

"Canmaker Impress Australasia's support to that part of the business is critical, providing us with prompt, accurate service.

"Naturally quality is paramount in infant formula - and anything less than perfect is unacceptable.

"Any defects - however minor - represent big problems in this business and the metal packaging is integral to protecting the product.

"MG Nutritional's relationship with Impress is critical to the whole operation in infant formula," he said.

Over half the MG Nutritionals infant formula product range is in cans, all of which are supplied by Impress Australasia. Typically MG Nutritionals' customers relaunch their product ranges every two to three years, which involves refreshing can artwork.

The company services a number of different infant formula customers.

Mr Hobman said the spectrum of infant formula products was highly segmented into different product ranges for each age group, as well as a range of premium products. As a result, MG Nutritionals manages more than 120 different SKUs.

"The complexity and sensitivity of managing all these makes it a very demanding business," he said.

"In recent months we have used the SAP business information management tool to help integrate this business which has led to a good outcome. This tool covers product forecasting, materials resource planning right through to shipping and financials and represents another example of MG Nutritionals continuous improvement ethic."

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Australia's largest dairy company Murray Goulburn has launched and is developing its own "Natrastart" brand of infant formula in China.