Billy Sims-China Food Group, will begin exporting whole milk powder and skim milk powder to China starting in early 2015, company officials announced.
Billy Sims-China Food Group is the brainchild of Detroit businessman David “Chief” Tomby, co-chairman and corporate director of marketing, and co-chairman Billy Sims, 1978 Heisman Trophy winner and three-time Pro Bowl running back for the Detroit Lions. Sims and Tomby — friends and business partners for 30-plus years — have founded several successful ventures including a water purification company and real estate investment and management firm. This latest venture is in response to China’s pressing demand for dairy products that cannot be met internally.
China is looking to the U.S. to meet its growing demand for dairy products because the U.S. produces an abundant and reliable supply of milk and milk powder that meets the highest world standards for safety, quality, and consistency. The Chinese demand for high-quality milk powder has increased steadily as their economy has grown and matured. In addition, a substantial number of dairy processors in China cannot meet new standards and the dairy herd is shrinking, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We have established relationships with several dairy producers in the U.S. that are going to meet demand for milk powder in China this year,” said Sims. “In addition to sourcing and distribution, Billy Sims-China Food Group is developing its own state-of-the-art plant that will produce 480,000 lb of whole milk powder and skim milk powder per day by 2017. The company is also expanding into producing branded soft drinks, salad dressings, and snack foods for the China market.”
“The manufacturing development is actively seeking joint-venture partners in China and is talking with potential investors,” said Sims. “The joint U.S.-China venture has received official support from the State of Michigan and Chinese government officials in the U.S.”
Kevin Zhang, director of China Operations for Billy Sims-China Food Group, noted, “The China market for milk products produced in the U.S. is enormous and expected to grow rapidly over the coming five years.”
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) July 2014 report, Dairy: World Markets and Trade, China and its neighboring nations cannot meet demand. The U.S. is the only country with the ability to provide China with a steady supply of milk powder. Milk powder is reconstituted for a number of products including infant formula.
David Coleman, president and CEO, noted, “In addition to milk powder, the food group will partner with other food processing companies to establish a food hub to manufacture snack foods, soft drinks, and a private labeled salad dressing targeting the Chinese market.
“We will be sourcing milk powder from several dairy producers in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin, which, according to industry observers, produce about 4 billion lb of milk annually.
Coleman is an accomplished entrepreneur who managed a successful spirits distribution business in Atlanta, and developed his own brand of XO brandy.
The whole milk, skim milk powder plant will require a total investment of $180 million and will employ about 150 workers in Northern Michigan.
Billy Sims China Food Group is incorporated in Detroit, Michigan as ACCR LLC.
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