Lactalis yogurt bets on the American appetite

The company is also watching for taste changes, such as thick, high-protein, low-sugar Icelandic yogurts from the Siggi’s brand, acquired by Lactalis in 2018.

“When I came to the United States as a college student, a lot of foods were full of sugar,” founder Siggi Hilmarsson recalls, noting that the top-selling yogurt at the time contained proportionately more sugar than a soda.

He introduced Icelandic skyr to the US market in 2006, but sales really took off in 2012 and 2013 when “sugar replaced fat as public enemy number one in healthy eating,” he said. he declares.

– Shortage of drivers –

He decided to sell his business four years ago to Lactalis in order to promote his yoghurt in other countries. The brand is now available in France, Australia, Canada and South Korea.

With Siggi’s and Stonyfield, as well as natural, specialty and organic cheeses acquired from Kraft in 2021, and Karoun’s labneh and other dairy products added to its portfolio in 2017, the United States will become Lactalis’ first market this year after France.

It is just ahead of Canada where the group, with an annual turnover of 22 billion euros, has developed in recent years, in particular after the acquisition of Ultima Foods.

The firm relies on its experience in the sector and its global reach to relaunch products whose financial performance no longer satisfied their former owners, and to develop certain promising brands.

Most of the new machines installed at the Stonyfield production site come from Europe “because we have historical relationships with our suppliers and they know what we need”, said production manager Mathieu Le Duey during a factory tour.