Yogurt Maker Lactalis Betting On US Appetite
North Londonderry, United States, May 6 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 7th May, 2022 ) :French dairy giant Lactalis is betting big on North America, adapting to local preferences to attract consumers while it manages country-specific issues, such as the extreme volatility of US milk prices.
The organic brand is seeing strong demand for its products aimed at babies and children, so Stonyfield plans to build a second production line for them this year.
Unlike Europeans, who often eat yogurt at the end of a meal, Americans "have yogurt for breakfast or as a snack," said Esteve Torrens, Stonyfield's CEO.
"When I came to the United States as a student, a lot of foods were full of sugar," founder Siggi Hilmarsson recalls, noting that the best-selling yogurt at the time contained proportionally more sugar than a soda.
- Driver shortage - He decided to sell his business four years ago to Lactalis in order to promote his yogurt in other countries. The brand is now available in France, Australia, Canada and South Korea.
With Siggi's and Stonyfield, as well the natural, specialty and organic cheeses acquired from Kraft in 2021, and the labne and other dairy products from Karoun integrated into its portfolio in 2017, the United States will become Lactalis' largest market this year after France.
The firm relies on its experience in the sector and its global reach to relaunch products whose financial performance no longer satisfied their former owners, and to expand some promising brands.
Most of the new machines installed at the Stonyfield production site come from Europe "because we have historical relations with our suppliers and they know what we need," production manager Mathieu Le Duey told reporters during a tour of the plant.
A private company founded in Laval, France in 1933 and still controlled by the Besnier family, Lactalis first entered the North American market when it opened an import-export office in the early 1980s to introduce French products.
"For two years, it's been hellish. We can't find carriers because they have trouble finding drivers," said Gilles Meziere, the group's North America chief executive.
"We have very high turnover rates in our factories," sometimes forcing the temporary suspension of production lines, he adds.
At the Stonyfield factory, the group "had to bring in executives for a day because we couldn't put the products in the boxes."