Freedom Foods Group will ramp up its presence in China after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with one of the country’s largest online retailers, JD Worldwide.

Started in April 2015, JD Worldwide allows international brands to sell directly to Chinese consumers without having to build an on the ground presence. Freedom Foods, the ‘free-from’ breakfast foods, snacks and beverages maker, first launched on JD.com in September 2015 with a range of UHT dairy milk products.

Under the MoU, Freedom Foods’ current brands, So Natural, Vitalife and Simply White, will be joined by an expanded range of products including cereals and snacks, as well as non-dairy UHT products.

The MoU will see also Freedom Foods and JD Worldwide combine forces to bolster promotional and merchandising activities, with the aim of driving growth in the current range of UHT dairy milk products from So Natural, Vitalife and Simply White. The two parties will also work together to develop additional product formats and types in dairy and non-daiy UHT categories.

JD Worldwide enlisted 900 stores and more than 1.2 million SKUs within the first four months of its initial launch, and offers a wide variety of products from baby milk formula to jewellery and personal electronics from China’s free-trade zones.

In another move to further increase Chinese distribution, Freedom Foods will launch a branded flagship store on the JD Worldwide platform, expected to go live in December 2015.

The expansion is inline with the growth strategy outline by Freedom Foods in October, when it announced a $65 million equity raising. The funds were used to purchase snacks manufacturer, Popina Foods, and begin construction of a new UHT processing facility at Ingleburn, in Sydney’s south west.

Following on from the acquisition of Popina Foods, Freedom Foods and JD Worldwide also plan to launch a range of cereal and snack products via JD Worldwide’s direct sales platform in early 2016 initially focused on the Arnott’s Farm Oat-based Clusters, So Natural Oat-based Clusters and Freedom Foods porridge.

“The strategic partnership between Freedom Foods and JD has taken a further step today and cements our already strong and developing relationship,” Rory Macleod, MD of Freedom Foods said.

“Our capital investment and acquisition program, including the Popina Foods acquisition, the creation of the Pactum Dairy Group, and the development of the UHT processing facility at Ingleburn has provided Freedom Foods with additional capability and capacity to capitalise on the rising demand in China and other Asian markets for Australia’s high quality premium food products,” Macleod said.

“We are excited by the opportunity to partner with JD to bring Freedom Foods’ trusted brands and high quality products to the Chinese market.”

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