INFO FRANCEINFO. Covid-19: Lactalis did not suffer from the crisis, on the contrary

The headquarters of the French group Lactalis, in Laval (Mayenne). (DAMIEN MEYER / AFP)

The Covid-19 pandemic has not weighed on the activity of Lactalis – which owns Bridel, President, Lactel-. On the contrary, the French producer of dairy products has seen the demand for cheese, milk and butter sold in supermarkets increase. Its turnover jumped by 6% in 2020. It must be said that during confinement, the French cooked more, made homemade cakes, consumed more pasta than usual and therefore bought, for example, much more Emmental. grated.

Moreover, to meet the demand of families, Lactalis had to rethink the proportions of its cheese packages and favor those of 500 grams rather than 250. The brand has adapted its production lines. Another change: with the crisis, sales of “pleasure” products soared: chocolate creams, but also camemberts and coulommiers.

On the other hand, with the closure of restaurants, Lactalis lost activity. But all in all, the brand should in 2020 exceed 21 billion euros in turnover. Either better than in 2019.

Lactalis has 260 dairies and cheese factories around the world, including 66 in France. And on the strength of its good results, the group will continue to expand, particularly internationally, where it now generates 80% of its turnover.

Its strategy is to buy brands like Leerdammer, the Dutch brand, previously owned by the Bel group. This acquisition allows Lactalis to further establish itself in the Netherlands.

And if the producer of dairy products has 85,000 employees worldwide, including 15,000 in France, he also plans to grow in France. According to our information, this year it will hire 1,500 people, more than half of whom are on permanent contracts. As well as a thousand work-study students.

Gone are the days of the health scandal. However, in 2017, the case of infant formula contaminated with salmonella in the historic Lactalis factory in Mayenne had caused a stir. And had thrown an unexpected spotlight on this family group known for its culture of secrecy, led by a representative of the third generation. Emmanuel Besnier had made the headlines.

The investigation is still ongoing, but with the Covid-19, it is falling behind. The trial is not expected to take place until 2022 or 2023.

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