Lactalis Canada will be expanding its plant-based product offering converting its existing Sudbury, Ont. plant into a modern, dedicated plant-based production facility
The move will complement the company's wide range of dairy products. Lactalis Canada, a subsidiary of France-based Lactalis Group, is known for high-profile brands, including Cracker Barrel, Black Diamond, Balderson, Astro and Lactantia.
Lactalis Canada's expansion will grow the company's plant-based offering, which currently includes Sensational Soy, Lactantia margarine and Siggi's coconut-based yogourt alternative.
"While our core business is dairy, as an innovation leader and as demonstrated by our forthcoming expansion into plant-based, we are constantly following the consumer and continually seeking opportunities to innovate and respond to the market," Mark Taylor, president & CEO, Lactalis Canada, said in a release. "Our purpose is to enrich and nurture the lives of Canadians and this holds the same for our new offering which will provide consumers with complementary high-quality plant-based products that will benefit from our current capacity and capabilities as well as our rich and long-standing dairy expertise."
This announcement follows Lactalis Canada's earlier decision to cease milk processing and packaging at the Sudbury plant effective September 30.
The company outlines that this is the result of long-term volume decline and increased costs in the fluid milk market in Ontario, which have led to decreased profitability and economic sustainability of Lactalis Canada's fluid operations in Sudbury.
Lactalis Canada said it will continue to operate its refrigerated warehouse in Sudbury and will retain majority of its workforce during the transition period and for its new production facility. In addition, the company anticipates creating additional employment opportunities with future growth.
"We assure all consumers and customers that there will be no disruption to product supply or service as milk processing from Sudbury will transfer to Lactalis Canada's other fluid plants in Ontario and Quebec," said Taylor. "Dairy will always remain an essential and economical part of a balanced, healthy diet and as such, we are committed to continuing to make products that are available and accessible for all Canadians."
The company said more details on its upcoming expansion and product offering will be announced in the coming months.
Lactalis Canada directly employs 4,000 Canadians at more than 30 operating sites, including 19 manufacturing facilities.