Lactalis buys Agropur’s Canadian yogurt business

The deal will add the Iogo and Olympic brands to a portfolio that has been deemed an area of growth for the company.

Lactalis Canada Inc--Lactalis Canada to Acquire Agropur-s Canadi

The yogurt business is being stirred up, as Lactalis Canada is buying Agropur’s Canadian yogurt business.

The deal, which is pending approval by Canada’s Competition Bureau, includes Agropur’s Iögo and Iögo Nanö yogurt brands, as well as the Olympic yogurt, sour cream and kefir brand. The transaction includes production facilities in Quebec and British Columbia, as well as the operations at a leased distribution centre in Longueuil. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The purchase expands Lactalis Canada’s yogurt portfolio, which already includes Astro, Siggi’s and the Stonyfield organic brand. Lactalis, previously known in Canada as Parmalat, has previously said it is focusing on yogurt to gain market share from competitors like Danone. As part of that push, the CPG recently selected The Hive as creative AOR for the Astro brand in the summer.

Mark Taylor, Lactalis Canada’s president and CEO, said in an announcement that the transaction of the new brands will reinforce its position in the dairy category. It will also further help partners in both the retail and foodservice channels meet the growing consumer demand for yogurt products.

The acquisition also adds to Lactalis’ kefir and fermented offerings, having recently launched Astro Kefir Probiotic Balkan-style yogurt this past fall, touting its strong bacterial content vis-a-vis its competition.

Agropur president Roger Massicotte, meanwhile, admits the company is divesting its yogurt operations because of “current market conditions, increasingly aggressive competition and [a] desire to streamline [its] business model.” According to the company’s release, yogurt accounts for 2% of Agropur’s milk processing volume and 3% of its sales.

Lactalis Canada will add approximately 450 personnel from across the country to its existing 3,500 employees and 30 operating sites, including 17 manufacturing facilities in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and Manitoba.

Earlier this spring, Lactalis Canada put marketing efforts for its Stonyfield drinkable format on hold, thanks to the pandemic, but sees opportunity in this quickly-growing category, especially among children.

Lactalis Canada also sells the Beatrice and Lactania milk brands, as well as the Black Diamond and Cracker Barrel cheese brands. Cracker Barrel joined the roster earlier this year after Lactalis Group, the company’s global parent, acquired Kraft Heinz’s natural, grated, cultured and specialty cheese in the U.S., with the grated cheese business being included as part of the deal in Canada.