Zhejiang Sanlu Industrial's booth at an food industry exhibition in Shanghai in May this year. Photo: IC
Zhejiang Sanlu Industrial Co said Thursday that the company will rebuild the Sanlu brand, which was embroiled in a tainted-milk scandal five years ago, into a leading organic food brand, according to a company official.
The Sanlu (meaning three deers) brand has reappeared on the market again recently with its major products being organic grain food.
"Our business target is to revive the brand of 'Sanlu,' and build it into a world-famous organic grain food brand," Yang Xiangdong, marketing director of Zhejiang Sanlu Industrial Co, told the Global Times Thursday.
Five years ago, the Hangzhou-based enterprise won the bid at an auction for the Sanlu brand for 7.3 million yuan ($1.2 million), after Shijiazhuang-based Sanlu Group went into bankruptcy due to a melamine adulteration scandal, which led to the deaths of at least six children and affected 300,000 children.
Currently, Sanlu organic grain food is sold in supermarkets like Century Mart, said Yang.
Zhejiang Sanlu has been preparing to launch its organic grain food since it won the brand auction in 2009, and has gained organic food certificates issued by organizations in China, the US, Europe and Japan in the past four years, according to Yang.
But the reappearance of the Sanlu brand has raised concerns about whether the brand could win back trust from consumers.
"The company (Zhejiang Sanlu) took a big risk in remodeling this brand, as the brand already has been labeled as 'unsafe' among consumers due to the tainted-milk scandal," Li Zhiqi, chairman of Beijing Zhiqi Weilai Marketing and Consultancy Co, was quoted by Beijing Times newspaper as saying Thursday.
"It will cost much for the company to redeem the reputation of the Sanlu brand," said Li.
But Yang of Zhejiang Sanlu said that they are still optimistic about the brand value for Sanlu.
The "Sanlu" brand used to be worth 14.9 billion yuan in 2006, the China Brand Asset Evaluation Center was quoted by Xinhua as saying in 2009.
Yang also confessed that some consumers did query the relationship between Sanlu organic grain food and Sanlu milk power, and have concerns about whether they are safe to eat.
"We have been informing them that our Sanlu organic grain food has obtained authoritative certificates, and also Zhejiang Sanlu has no relationship with the previous dairy company, except for the brand name," Yang noted.