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Emmanuel Besnier: Lactalis remains one of the world's top 10 food-processing companies

World 21.06.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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Emmanuel Besnier, Chief Executive Officer of Lactalis, has described 2023 as an exceptionally complex and unstable year for the global dairy giant. Geopolitical tensions, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the emergence of new conflicts significantly impacted the company's operations. Natural disasters and the adverse effects of global warming further disrupted activities across many territories.
Emmanuel Besnier: Lactalis remains one of the world's top 10 food-processing companies
Despite these challenges, Besnier noted that while the inflation experienced over the past two years is easing, early signs of recession are beginning to emerge. Global growth was sluggish in 2023, with Europe, Lactalis' main market, witnessing a decline.

"The Lactalis teams did remarkable work when confronted with these many upheavals," Besnier stated. "Their courage and determination enabled them to deal with the most complex situations. I thank them for their resilience and agility, which enabled us to maintain our activities."

Besnier emphasized that the company's commitment to offering quality products at affordable prices has been a key factor in maintaining consumer trust worldwide. He highlighted the continued acclaim for Lactalis' international brands, Président and Galbani, and the success of local brands in boosting the dairy market in North America, Brazil, and Northern Europe.

However, the CEO acknowledged that the erosion of international markets for butter, powder, and ingredients, coupled with the company's support for milk prices paid to dairy partners, adversely affected results. Nonetheless, Lactalis remains one of the world's top 10 food-processing companies, with a slight increase in turnover by 4.3% to €29.5 billion.

Lactalis maintained a high level of investment in 2023, exceeding 3% of its turnover. Two-thirds of this investment was devoted to upgrading production tools, improving employee safety, pursuing innovation and quality expertise, and supporting ecological transition efforts.

The company continued its expansion in the Americas, acquiring Dairy Partners Americas, a joint venture between Nestlé and Fonterra, to consolidate its position in the Brazilian short shelf-life market. In Canada, Lactalis entered the premium desserts market with the acquisition of Marie Morin Canada. The company also strengthened its cheese-making business by welcoming Ambrosi, an Italian family business specializing in pressed cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano PDO and Grana Padano PDO.

Lactalis celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2023, marking the milestone with the revelation of its new purpose in action: "choosing to nurture a responsible future by pledging to provide the best dairy products possible to support each and everyone's growth, in partnership with local territories." This purpose, Besnier stated, reflects the company's vision and collective passion for dairy products.

Looking ahead to 2024, Besnier remains confident in Lactalis' ability to maintain profitable and responsible growth. "We have everything we need in order to continue writing the extraordinary story of our Group in the forthcoming decades: a company in harmony with the world, its changes, and the needs of its people," he concluded.
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