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Lactalis launches plant-based drink line in Canada

Dairy major Lactalis has launched a new six-strong line of plant-based “high protein” drinks in Canada.

Called Enjoy, the beverages encompass a range of flavours, all unsweetened: oat; oat vanilla; almond; almond vanilla; hazelnut; and hazelnut and oat.

The products contain eight grams of pea protein per 250 ml serving.

According to the France-headquartered dairy maker, Enjoy products are sold at most major retailers across Canada.

Nathalie Cusson, the general manager of Lactalis Canada’s fluid division, said: “As nutritious, high protein, unsweetened beverages, Enjoy responds to a growing consumer demand for plant-based options that taste great and have positive health impacts, including non-GMO and gluten-free certification with no artificial colours, preservatives or flavours.

“What sets Enjoy apart is its uniquely high-protein content which consumers are increasingly desiring in their daily diet.”

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Mark Taylor, CEO of Lactalis in Canada, said the new line “further complements Lactalis Canada’s wide-ranging portfolio of now 20 iconic consumer brands and expands our plant-based offering to Canadian consumers by leveraging our expertise in this dairy-free category”.

The company said its newly converted 33,150 square-foot production facility in Sudbury, Ontario, is now fully operational as a dedicated plant-based manufacturing facility.

In Canada, Lactalis owns brands such as Cracker Barrel, Black Diamond, Balderson.

The group posted a “weak” profit performance last year as the world’s largest dairy company faced pressure on volumes from private label.

The privately-owned business, headquartered in Laval, Pays-de-la-Loire, reported turnover rose 4.3% in 2023 to €29.5bn ($31.4bn).

Lactalis explained in a statement that “2023 was marked by a change in consumer purchasing behaviour, reflected in a fall in sales volumes and a specific appetite for private label – to the detriment of national brands (especially in Europe)”.

Chairman Emmanuel Besnier said on 18 April that consolidated net profit “remained weak”, coming in at €428m, albeit an increase of 11% from the prior 12 months. Profit stood at €384m in fiscal 2022, down 14% year-on-year.

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