Danone has entered into a certification arrangement with online infant formula retailer Windeln.de in a bid to ensure availability of brands such as Aptamil in Germany and “controlled” distribution China.

The deal will see Windeln.de offer customers in Germany a reservation service for products offered by Danone’s infant formula business in the country, Milupa Nutricia. 

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The company also hopes to combat the so-called “grey trade” of infant formula to China, which sees local merchants buying infant formula products in Europe and shipping them to China for resale. The trend has led to infant formula shortages in Europe and subjects Chinese consumers to potential issues, such as exposure to out-of-date or fraudulent products. 

Windeln.de said Chinese consumers will be able to purchase German Milupa Nutricia products directly from the group’s Chinese website,  www.windeln.de/zh, or via its recently opened Tmall store. The company stressed goods are then shipped directly from Germany to the Chinese consumer via a “well-established” logistics partner. 

“Milupa Nutricia is doing everything to ensure that parents that live in Germany can buy our high quality products. In addition to various measures to improve the product availability – including Aptamil reservation services, our goal is to further reduce pressure on the shelves in Germany and Europe by satisfying the Asian demand where it originates. This also helps to ensure that parents in China can receive our high quality products through safer delivery routes via retail partners like windeln.de,” German sales director Nichole Duttine explained. 

Konstantin Urban, founder and co-CEO of windeln.de. added the partnership with Danone’s German unit is an “important step” to growing its business in Germany and China, as well as securing the availability of products in both markets.  

“After the supply of Milupa products for Germany is ensured, we can continue to satisfy the demand of our Chinese customers for high-quality German baby food. We will support this by specific marketing measures in the social networks in China. We are very pleased that we have laid this important foundation together with Milupa Nutricia. Together with the opening of our Tmall Shop in July 2016, this is an important milestone for our future in China and will further increase our revenue with Chinese customers.”