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TypePrivate company
IndustryDairy products
Predecessorla société Besnier
Founded19 October 1933; 90 years ago (1933-10-19)
FounderAndré Besnier
Key people
Emmanuel Besnier, CEO
ProductsCheese, butter, milk
Revenue€19.96 billion (2019)
€318 million (2019)
OwnerBesnier family via Belgian holding company BSA International SA
Number of employees

Lactalis is a French multinational dairy products corporation, owned by the Besnier family and based in Laval, Mayenne, France.[1] The company's former name was Besnier SA.[1]

Lactalis is the largest dairy products group in the world, and is the second largest food products group in France, behind Danone.[2] It owns brands such as Parmalat, Président, Siggi's Dairy, Skånemejerier, Rachel's Organic, and Stonyfield Farm.[3]


Galbani mozzarella with cherry tomatoes.

André Besnier started a small cheesemaking company in 1933 and launched its Président brand of Camembert in 1968. In 1990, it acquired Group Bridel (2,300 employees, 10 factories, fourth-largest French dairy group) with a presence in 60 countries. In 1992, it acquired United States cheese company Sorrento. In 1999, la société Besnier became le groupe Lactalis owned by Belgian holding company BSA International SA. In 2006, they bought Italian group Galbani, and in 2008, bought Swiss cheesemaker Baer. They bought Italian group Parmalat in a 2011 2.5B € takeover after its bankruptcy and have since sought to delist it. In 2013, the Sorrento and Precious brands in the US were renamed Galbani, and the Sorrento Lactalis division was renamed Lactalis American Group.

In 2007, the French Institut National des Appellations d'Origine, which administers AOC (L'appellation d'origine contrôlée) designations for French food products, refused to permit Lactalis and the dairy cooperative, Isigny-Sainte-Mère, to sell pasteurized Camembert as "true Camembert". As of 2007, these two companies represented between 80 and 90% of Normandy Camembert sales.[4] In 2018, the INAO announced it would relax restrictions and create a new designation to include pasteurized Camembert in 2021.[5]

Lactilis acquired the southern Swedish dairy company, Skånemejerier, in February 2012.

In May 2015, Lactalis acquired an 80% stake in Turkish dairy Ak Gida, a subsidiary of Yildiz Holding.[6][7][8][9]

In July 2017 it was announced that Groupe Danone had agreed to sell its Stonyfield Farm subsidiary to Lactalis for $875 Million[10] to avoid anti-trust claims and to clear the way for Danone's acquisition of U.S. organic food producer WhiteWave Foods.[11]

In December 2017, Lactalis announced the acquisition of dairy company Itambé.[12]

In January 2018, Lactalis announced it had agreed to purchase the skyr producer Siggi's Dairy, which will continue to be run independently.[13]

In October 2018, Lactalis announced the acquisition of Nestlé Malaysia's chilled dairy business unit for approximately $40 million.[14]

Lactalis's Indian subsidiary Tirumala Milk Products said that it would acquire Prabhat's dairy business for ₹17 Billion. This will be Lactalis's third acquisition in India.[15]

On 15 September 2020, Groupe Lactalis announced an agreement to acquire Kraft Heinz's natural cheese operations in North America and internationally for $3.2 billion.[16] The Department of Justice ruled that Lactalis must divest the Athenos and Polly-O cheese brands.[17]

In April 2023, Lactalis American Group announced an investment of $32 million to construct a new whey-processing facility in South Buffalo, boosting its production of the ingredient by 30%.[18]


Owned by the Belgian holding company BSA International SA, which is controlled by the Besnier family that founded Lactalis, Lactalis in 2015 had global revenues of 16.5 billion euros. Lactalis employs 75,000 people worldwide, at 237 production sites in 43 countries.[19] The headquarters for Lactalis American Group, Inc. is located in Buffalo, New York.


In August 2016, farmers blockaded the company HQ in the French city of Laval, protesting what they saw as price fixing.[20]

In January 2018, the company had to withdraw 12 million boxes of baby formula due to a salmonella contamination. They were accused of trying to hide the initial discovery of contamination, which led to the crisis.[21][22][23]

In 2020 allegations were made that 38 of Lactalis's production plants in France had breached environmental regulations, and had been doing so for a number of years. Lactalis stated it had invested €60 million in improving wastewater treatment plants.[24]

In February 2023, Lactalis Group and Celia Laiterie de Craon, a company linked to the group, were charged with aggravated deception, involuntary injuries and non-execution of withdrawal and recall measures in a five-year-old case where babies were diagnosed with salmonellosis after consuming the French dairy group's infant milk products, with both firms placed under judicial supervision with a bond of €300,000 ($320,509) each.[25]

In July 2023, Lactalis Australia was fined A$950,000 by the Federal Court for breaching the Dairy Code of Conduct in 2020.[26]


The group operates in eight divisions:

  • Lactalis cheeses with President – Rouy  • Lepetit  • Bridélight  • Galbani  • Rondelé  • Munster's Little Friends
  • Lactalis Butter & Creams with President – Bridélice  • Bridélight  • Primrose
  • Lactel with Awakening – Day after day  • Morning Light
  • Lactalis AOC with Pochat – Istara  • Beulet  • Salakis  • Lanquetot  • Roquefort Société  • Golden Ball  • Lou Pérac  • The Ruby  • Raguin  • The Stone Bridge
  • Lactalis consumption AFH with President – Society  • Bridel  • Locatelli
  • Lactalis industry with BBA – Calciane  • Prolacta
  • Tendriade Veal with Tendriade – Eurovo  • Voréal
  • Lactalis International with President – Sorrento  • Valbreso  • Galbani  • Sorrento  • Locatelli  • Invernizzi
  • LNUF with The Milkmaid – Yoco  • Flanby  • Sveltesse  • Vienna  • Greek Yogurt  • Kremly  • BA  • Fold

Lactalis owns 198 industrial sites in 55 countries including the US, Romania, Poland, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia ("სანტე" brand), United Kingdom, Australia and as of 2011, Canada and South Africa. Lactalis mostly produces yogurt, butter, cheese, powdered milk, baby formula and milk drinks.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b World's Major Multinationals. Directories (Euromonitor PLC). Euromonitor. 2000. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-86338-883-5. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  2. ^ Sukumar, C. R.; Kumar, Arun (15 August 2017). "Le Groupe Lactalis of France to purchase Tirumala Milk Products for $275 mn". The Economic Times. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  3. ^ Lactalis UK website. "Companies and Brands". Archived 10 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "".
  5. ^ Monaco, Emily. "The end to a French cheese tradition?". Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Lactalis set to enter thriving Turkish dairy sector through Ak Gida deal". 7 May 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  7. ^ "AK GIDA". Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Yıldız Holding sells dairy unit to French food giant". Hürriyet Daily News. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  9. ^ "Lactalis acquires Turkish dairy producer Ak Gıda". 6 May 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  10. ^ Beth Kowitt. "Danone's Stonyfield Sale Is the Latest Twist in the Yogurt Wars". Fortune. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Danone to sell Stonyfield unit as part of WhiteWave deal". CNBC. Reuters. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  12. ^ "France's Lactalis to pay $600 million for Brazil's Itambé: source". Reuters. 5 December 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Siggi's skyr sold to French dairy company". Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Lactalis buys Nestle Malaysia's chilled dairy business in $40 million deal". Reuters. Retrieved 9 October 2018.
  15. ^ "This dairy stock has jumped 20% in trade today. Here's why". 22 January 2019.
  16. ^ Gray, Alistair; Fontanella-Khan, James; Abboud, Leila (15 September 2020). "Kraft Heinz sells parts of cheese business for $3.2bn". Financial Times. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Justice Department Requires Divestitures in Lactalis's Acquisition of Kraft Heinz's Natural Cheese Business in the United States". 10 November 2021.
  18. ^ "Lactalis pursues $32M expansion for added whey production". The Buffalo News. 10 April 2023. Retrieved 10 April 2023.
  19. ^ "Lactalis Group - Key Figures". Archived from the original on 7 February 2017.
  20. ^ "French farmers step up fight against dairy giant Lactalis". France 24. 29 August 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  21. ^ "Lactalis to withdraw 12m boxes of baby milk in salmonella scandal". The Guardian. 14 January 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Lactalis failed to report salmonella on a product -government official". Reuters. 13 February 2018.
  23. ^ "Baby milk contamination 'began in 2005'". BBC. 1 February 2018.
  24. ^ Harrap, Caroline (19 October 2020). "French dairy giant accused of polluting country's famous rivers for years". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  25. ^ Lyubomirova, Teodora (20 February 2023). "Salmonella: Lactalis criminally charged in France over infant formula recall". Daily Reporter. Retrieved 13 April 2023.
  26. ^ Buchanan, Kallee; Nichols, Jennifer; Halter, Abbey (25 July 2023). "Owner of some of Australia's biggest dairy brands fined $950k over treatment of farmers". ABC News. Retrieved 23 August 2023.

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