Yogurt brands Iögo and Olympic will soon be the sole property of Canadian dairy giant Agropur Cooperative, which previously shared ownership with Agrifoods International Cooperative.
The deal, which was announced late last week and still needs to clear regulatory hurdles, will see Agropur take full control of Ultima Foods, which claims 30% of the yogurt market in Canada. Until now, Ultima had been a 50-50 joint venture between Agropur and Agrifoods.
“This transaction continues along the course we have charted and will support our long-term development in the yogurt category,” said René Moreau, president of Agropur, in a release. “We are always very proud when we are able to keep processing assets in the hands of Canadian dairy farmers.” Agropur produces a range of dairy products under well-known brands such as Natrel, Sealtest and Oka.
While Ultima started making yogurt in 1971, Ultima Foods Inc. was only formed in 1993 after Agropur and Agrifoods combined their yogurt manufacturing and marketing operations. In 2004, Ultima Foods acquired Delta, B.C.-based Olympic Dairy and launched Iögo in 2012 after losing the brand licence for Yoplait yogurts to General Mills.
Today, Ultima operates two plants (Granby, Que. and Delta B.C.) and employs 660 people with annual sales of more than $300 million.
According to the Canadian Dairy Commission, the Canadian yogurt market has been growing with consumption rising by 43.7% over the last 10 years, from 7.66 litres per capita in 2007 to 11.01 litres in 2016.
“Moving forward from today’s transaction, Agrifoods is excited to enhance our focus on innovating and nurturing our family of brands and continuing our leadership role in the health and wellness industry in Canada,” said Tim Hofstra, president and chair of Agrifoods, which counts Organic Meadow, Meadowfresh, Earth’s Own and Happy Planet among its brands.