A dairy company has unveiled plans to make one of its facilities in Ontario, Canada, completely plant-based next month.
Lactalis Canada, a subsidiary of French dairy giant Lactalis, will cease all dairy production in its Sudbury branch from September 30.
The move follows “long-term volume decline” and “increased costs in the fluid milk market in Ontario,” according to Lactalis. The company hopes that the change will complement the company’s existing plant-based products, which include Sensational Soy and Lactantia margarine.
“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 Mark Taylor, president and CEO of Lactalis Canada.
“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 intends to transfer Sudbury’s dairy processing operations to other facilities in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. And, that there will be no disruption to its product supply. It also plans to retain most of the workforce during the transition.
The rise in dairy-free milk
Plant-based milk has seen a huge growth in popularity over the last few years.
According to Defra’s 2020 Family Food Survey, milk consumption in the UK has decreased by 50 percent since 1974.
One of the reasons for this decline has been attributed to the influx of easily accessible dairy-alternatives. A study from 2021 found that sales of oat milk, for example, had climbed more than 170 percent in the last year.
Canada’s move away from dairy
Milk consumption has been gradually declining in Canada in recent years. In 2021, it hit a new low of 60.5 liters per capita, which was a decrease of 10 liters per capita since 2015.
In 2019, Canada updated its food guide to remove its recommendation for a daily dose of dairy, and instead lumped it in with other proteins.
It was the first time the guide had been updated since 2007. It also marked the first time since 1942 that Canadians weren’t being encouraged to eat or drink dairy products each day.