Q&A Series: Mark Keller, Head of Sales & Marketing at Dairygold Co-Operative Society Ltd.

Mark Keller Dairygold

June 18, 2019

This month to mark Food Month at Guaranteed Irish, we chat to Mark Keller, Head of Sales & Marketing at Dairygold Co-Operative Society Ltd. and Board Member at Guaranteed Irish.

Located in the rich fertile Golden Valleys of Munster, Dairygold is Ireland’s largest co-operative, supporting thousands of shareholder farmers for more than 150 years. Their members have a proud history of producing quality-assured, sustainable gold standard dairy ingredients that enrich lives on a global scale. 

The co-operative remains focused on producing cheese and dairy ingredients that can be traced from grass fed cows in Europe’s most fertile pastures. Constantly adding value to their nutritional products through smart innovation, research, industry-leading technology and world-class facilities, they have a clear vision and plan to be a global player in supplying naturally-sourced dairy.

Their mission is to nourish people around the globe with naturally-sourced gold standard dairy ingredients from the most fertile farmlands in the world. They maximise their shareholders’ values by fostering relationships with key partners and growing their culture of sustainability and innovation around the world. They have made major inroads to the East recently and have recently turned into a €1bn company.

Mark Keller, Head of Sales and Marketing, has lead the development in China. We caught up with Mark to learn how this Irish company is making it’s mark in China.

What is the Dairygold strategy in China?

As part of its strategy, Dairygold Co-operative Society is focused on key dairy deficit regions, particularly ASEAN markets and most importantly, China.

Has the ending of milk quotas affected Dairygold’s business?

Taking full advantage of the ending of milk quotas in 2015 and to sustainably grow member’s income Dairygold is focused on the growing demand for high quality infant grade dairy ingredients from grass fed milk. Working with key blue-chip infant formula manufacturers and given its long-established relationships in Beijing, Dairygold is one of the largest exporters of Demineralised Whey Powder in to China.

What is Dairygold’s USP that attracted the Chinese market to do business with them?

Provenance and Trust are key pillars of a sustainable relationship and in recent times these have become even more important as Chinese mothers are more sensitised to recipe, taste, and the traceability of products they consume. The Guaranteed Irish symbol is the national symbol for Trust and Provenance and we use this to demonstrate our Irishness and it connects well with our customers in the East. They see it as a ‘seal of approval’.

How committed is Dairygold to China and the East – do you see this as a ‘growth market?’

In 2018 Dairygold opened an office in Ruijin, Shanghai providing a sales development platform into South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan – all markets with growing populations. Further afield Dairygold recently engaged a new agent in Manila, opening further distribution opportunities for cheese and milk powders across the Philippines. Building relationships with local distributors as well as developing a knowledge box on the region is extremely important to ensure that Dairygold can optimise potential new business and strategic partnerships.



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