'Dairy is not dead': Saputo CEO on industry growth and plant closures
The chief executive officer of Saputo Inc. said the dairy industry is growing, despite the company’s recent decision to close some of its Canadian plants.
“Our industry continues to grow,” said Lino Saputo Jr., who took over the Montreal-based dairy giant from his father in 2004, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Wednesday.
“Dairy is not dead, and that’s not the reason why we closed those facilities. But we need to be efficient, we need to be effective, and we need to be relevant to our consumers.”
The company announced earlier this month plans to close two Canadian plants – one in Trenton, Ont., and the other in Saint John, N.B. – to improve operational efficiency. The company said about 280 employees would be impacted.
“[Those were] very, very tough decisions for us to make, but it’s for the sustainability and the viability of our business moving forward,” Saputo said.
While Saputo still sees strong demand for dairy products, the company is equipped to meet evolving consumer desires as other companies make a push into plant-based products, he said.
“We are going in that direction,” Saputo said in reference to producing plant-based milk products. “But for other categories of dairy in the cheese, in the dairy powders and in the infant formulas, there’s no better solid in the world than dairy proteins.”
“So we still believe in that, even though we can venture into where the trends are going.”