Through the investment, which includes a CAD$5m (US$4.8m, €3.6m) interest-free loan from the Quebec regional government, Danone in Canada will increase production of its Oikos Greek yogurt products at its Boucherville head office plant in Québec.
Increasing local demand for Oikos has stretched the company’s current manufacturing capabilities.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Danone in Canada spokesperson, Anne-Julie Maltais, said that the investment “will secure Oikos expansion by increasing the capacity” of the firm’s Boucherville plant.
“I cannot disclose capacity figures, however I can say that this investment means incremental revenues for dairy farmers with 225m more litres of milk.”
The plant extension is scheduled for completion by January 2014.
#1 in Canadian Greek segment
Maltais added that the money will be used to purchase “milk tanks, strainers, separators and a full Greek yogurt line” – the technology vital for the production of yogurt with a thick, creamy texture.
According to the company, its investment at Boucherville will directly create 10 jobs at the plant.
Oikos was launched in Canada in 2011 following Danone’s purchase of US organic yogurt manufacturer, Stoneyfield.
Since its launch, the product, which Danone claims is “inspired by Greek tradition,” has been manufactured at the company’s Boucherville plant.
Oikos is now “number one in the Greek segment with a 40% market share,” according to Maltais.
Pauline Marois, Premier of Quebec, and Élaine Zakaib, the Minister for Industrial Policy and the Banque de développement économique du Quebec, were present for last week’s announcement.
Commenting, Danone in Canada president and CEO, Nick Krzyzaniak thanked the Quebec regional government for its support.
“We are gratified by this financial support, which will help us increase our activities in this direction,” he said.
“The investment not only confirms Danone’s role as a major agent of economic develop in Québec, but reasserts its leadership as the country’s largest yogurt producer,” he added.