Australia’s farmer-owned milk cooperative, Norco, found a big opportunity in China. Norco delivered 4,000 liters (9,088 pounds, or 1,056 gallons) of fresh milk to Shanghai and charged about $8 a liter. The milk sold out in just 36 hours, which means it was less than 4 days old when Chinese consumers took it home from the store.
Norco worried Chinese consumers would be used to the Ultra-High Temperature pasteurization (UHT) milk and may not be willing to switch to something with a shorter shelf life. But, lucky for them, the Chinese market loved it, and now they’re looking to export 20 to 50 million liters (45 to 113 million pounds) of milk, worth $400 million in retail sales, over the next year. Their next order to China is for 20,000 liters.
Norco producers make 150 million liters (340 million pounds) of milk a year from 159 cooperative members. Despite the high prices for fresh milk in China, their producers currently make only $0.40 to $0.50 per liter.