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Lactalis converting Sudbury milk operation to plant-based production

Dairy producer said it will cease milk operations due to unprofitability in fluid milk market
Parmalat dairy
(Google Streetview image)

Lactalis Canada, formerly Parmalat, is ceasing milk production at its Sudbury plant as of Sept. 30.

The dairy producer said over the next few months it will be converting the plant on Palm Dairy Road in the city’s east end into a modern operation dedicated to growing its offerings of plant-based products.

Lactalis Canada said the decision to cease milk processing and packaging is as a result of a “long-term volume decline and increased costs in the fluid milk market in Ontario that have led to decreased profitability and economic sustainability of Lactalis Canada's fluid operations in Sudbury.”

The company declined an interview request. 

Lactalis said it will retain a “majority” of the Sudbury workforce during the transition with the intention creating new jobs once the new production facility is in operation. The refrigerated warehouse will remain in operation. 

In a statement, company president-CEO Mark Taylor said milk progressing from Sudbury will be transferred to their other plants in Ontario and Quebec. He said there will be no disruptions to service or supply.

"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," said Taylor.

"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."

The company’s plant-based products include Sensational Soy, Lactantia margarine and siggi's coconut-based yogourt alternative.

Lactalis Canada’s more popular brands include Cracker Barrel, Black Diamond, Balderson, Astro and Lactantia. The company is a subsidiary of France-based Lactalis Group.

Parmalat Canada changed its name to Lactalis Canada in July 2020. Lactalis Canada directly employs 4,000 and is on Forbes 2022 list of Canada’s Best Employers.