Ultima Foods has signalled its intention to “solidify” its leadership of the Canadian dairy industry through a double edged agreement that will see it continue to produce Yoplait brand yogurt and launch of its own brand of yogurt products.
The Canada-based firm has entered into a new processing agreement with the owners of the Yoplait brand - Yoplait SAS and General Mills - to produce the brand’s yogurt products for a total of six years.
Under the double-edged strategy, Ultima also announced the launch of its own brand of yogurt products in Canada, which has been scheduled for mid-August 2012.
The firm, which has been manufacturing yogurt products for more than 40 years, also announced a planned $10m investment at its Granby manufacturing plant to meet the demands of manufacturing its own brand as well as Yoplait.
Ultima public relations director Diane Jubinville told DairyReporter.com that double announcement forms the basis of a strategy to ensure Ultima Foods’ leading position in the Canadian yogurt industry.
“We already have around 30% of the market. So we are already one of the most important players in the Canadian yogurt market,” said Jubinville.
Despite their announcement, Ultima was unwilling to disclose how much of the market its aiming to poach through the strategy.
“Obviously we are now in a position to challenge for a majority stake of the Canadian market.”
“We are also investing at least $10m to make sure we have a large enough capacity to produce both brands – Yoplait and our own,” she added.
To meet the demand of its own launch, the firm has announced plans to invest at its Granby plant to increase the facility’s production capacity by 15m kg per year.
The investment will take the plants total capacity to around 130m kg.
The firm also indicated that further investments may be made to cover the company’s production needs.
Ultima Foods was formed by a joint venture between Agropur Cooperative and Agrifoods International Cooperative, which are two of the largest dairy cooperatives in Canada with membership including 4,500 producers.
“Today we are starting a new chapter in our history. We are solidifying our leadership in the industry by launching our own brand of yohurt, by manufacturing Yoplait products for Canada, and by investing heavily in our Granby plant,” said Ultima Foods president and CEO Gerry Doutre.
“The Canadian yogurt market is in full growth, and we will solidify our place in this market.”