MONTREA – Bel Canada Group is proud to celebrate 10 years of partnership with Agropur Cooperative for the local production of Boursin®. During the same period, Canadians have massively adopted these Aliments du Québec-certified cheeses. Over that time, production of Boursin® cheeses increased from 4.6 million units in 2011 to more than 15 million units in 2021, now representing the use of nearly 30 million litres of Canadian milk annually.
Acquired by Bel in 2007, the Boursin® brand is now consumed by one in four Canadian households and has risen to the number one position in Canada in the tray cheese category, according to AC Nielsen. In 2011, Bel Canada Group ceased importing the product from France and began producing the original recipe in Saint-Hyacinthe, from where the Agropur plant supplies the entire territory of Canada.
“We are committed to developing and manufacturing our products locally. This is even more important in the current context, in order to free ourselves as much as possible from the logistical problems associated with imports and, by the same token, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Thanks to its expertise and great collaboration, Agropur has been able to support us in the development of the Boursin® brand. We are proud that some of our new products were created at the Saint-Hyacinthe plant and could eventually be reproduced in our other plants outside of Canada,” said Cristine Laforest, General Manager of Bel Canada Group.
Bel Canada Group has gradually added six new flavours, in addition to the original product with its legendary garlic and fine herbs flavour, which was launched in 1963. Boursin® Apple & Maple was elected Product of the Year Canada 2020 in the Cheese category and Boursin® Fig & Balsamic won the same award in 2021.
A winning local partnership for Canadians
Agropur Cooperative, a Bel partner for more than 60 years, has extensive knowledge of the growth drivers of Boursin® and the Group’s other brands. In 2011, thanks to a strong, well-established relationship, Agropur was quickly identified as a production partner for Boursin®. Today, 60,000 Boursin® cheeses are produced daily in Saint-Hyacinthe, where nearly 30 employees work hard to serve the entire country.
“Agropur Cooperative and Bel Canada Group share the same values, vision and dairy know-how. A partnership was therefore only natural, and it is with pride that we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our collaboration. With Bel Canada Group, we have invested close to $12 million in three phases at the Saint-Hyacinthe plant to meet the growing demand for Boursin® cheeses. Today, more than 90% of the volume of all Boursin® products available in Canada is manufactured at Agropur using 100% Canadian milk,” added Émile Cordeau, Chief Executive Officer of Agropur Cooperative.
Reducing its environmental impact: a priority for Bel
Several projects have been implemented to reduce the company’s environmental footprint. Among other things, employees with expertise in industrial performance are working to maximize plant production and minimize their impact on the environment. To this end, Bel Canada Group monitors greenhouse gas emissions from all its plants in Quebec, including the plants of its partners, such as Agropur.
By 2023, Bel Canada Group aims to produce 80% of its brands in Canada. Moreover, by 2035, Bel will achieve a 25% reduction in GHGs in its facilities and will align itself with the trajectory of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to contribute to the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The story of Boursin® began in a small village in Normandy in 1957. François Boursin decided to go into business and created the Boursin® cheese factory, without suspecting for a moment that his name would become known worldwide. For almost 60 years, the original recipe, made with plain fresh cheese, has remained unchanged and, over the years, Boursin® has continued to seduce cheese lovers around the world. Today, the brand has many products, including the seven flavours of the Boursin® Cheese line produced in Canada by Agropur cooperative and distributed by Bel Canada Group. Website: www.boursin.ca. @Boursin_Canada
About Bel Canada Group
Bel Canada is a subsidiary of Bel Group, a fifth-generation international family-owned company and a world leader in branded cheeses and a major player in the healthy snack market with distribution in nearly 120 countries. Created in 2005 to boost the development of the group’s activities in Canada, the subsidiary now employs 200 people, including 80 at its headquarters in Montreal. Its main brands, Boursin®, The Laughing Cow® and Babybel®, are produced under subcontract in Canada with local partners active in dairy processing. Website: www.bel-canada.ca.
About Agropur Cooperative
Founded in 1938, Agropur Cooperative is a leader in the North American dairy industry with sales of $7.3 billion in 2021. The Cooperative is a source of pride for its 2908 members and 7550 employees who work together every day towards the same vision: “Better milk. Better world.” Agropur has 31 plants in North America. It is a major supplier of products to the industrial, retail and foodservice sectors, in addition to offering an impressive range of brands to consumers. Website: www.agropur.com.