QUEENSLAND-based functional food company Morlife is on the cusp of placing its products - including its dark chocolate berries range - into Chinese supermarkets this year.
The move, which requires registration with the China Inspection and Quarantine agency, has the potential to transform the Arundel-based company into a major local exporter with Chinese Walmart and Costco outlets keen to stock its food range.
It comes as Morlife, which was started on the Gold Coast by New Zealander Dr Warren Stewart, wife Liza Stewart, and daughter Cheryl Stewart in 2002, prepares to double the size of its factory, from 4000sq m to more than 8000sq m, to meet growing demand.
Cheryl Stewart said the tie-up with Walmart came from a chance meeting with an executive from the retail giant at an expo held in Shanghai last year.
"She had been to Costco in Australia and taken all these photos on her phone of our products," Ms Stewart said.
"She wanted all our products in their stores. She was scrolling through her phone and must have had 1200 photos. I said, 'you must have spent all day there' and she replied that she had spent two days at the store."
Ms Stewart said Morlife started the product registration process for China four months ago.
"We're hoping the registration for one of our cereals is completed in the next couple of months," she said.
"If we get into one of these major supermarkets, such as Costco or Walmart, it will definitely transform our company."
Morlife's major export markets are the Middle East and Singapore, but China, with a middle class predicted to number 630 million by 2022, is a whole other ball game.
Australia still makes up 85 per cent of Morlife's sales.
As well as Costco, popular products from its 300-strong range are stocked at Coles, Woolworths, and Aldi in Australia. The dark chocolate coated blueberries are also sold on all of Virgin's domestic flights.
The company's "hero products" are its Alkalising Greens powders, which Morlife claims helps the body maintain its acid-alkaline balance and achieve wellness.
The surge in demand, both locally and overseas, has enabled Morlife to massively expand its premises at 32 Technology Drive.
Construction on an adjacent factory started 12 months ago and a fitout is well in progress.
Ms Stewart said it features a product research laboratory and kitchen, to be used for social media posts and video shoots.
She said the research department will move into the new building by February and other parts of the business will follow later.
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