The Lactalis Story

Lactalis began in 1933

when André Besnier produced his first 17 camemberts from 35 liters of milk in Laval, France. Since their ambitious beginning, the Besnier family has continued to create the world’s leading dairy organization.

From the first camemberts

sold in 1933, André surrounded himself with colleagues who understood the Lactalis vision of creating a dairy brand that would be known for its quality and locality.

In 1948 André’s vision reached a milestone,

when he worked with dairy farmers and fellow businesspeople to collect 10,000 liters of milk. From this point on, Lactalis became a leader in innovation in the dairy marketplace, offering one-liter bottles of milk and diversifying the butters and creams selections.

Michel Besnier continues Lactalis growth

after his father’s death in 1955. In just two years, Michel was able to double the annual turnover for the family brand.

Michel created a pivotal period

in the company’s history during the 1960s. Through industrial expertise, quality and innovation, commitment to dairy processing, and strong external growth, the company began expanding the volume of milk collected, acquired dairies throughout western France, and began meeting requirements of supermarkets that were beginning to appear in France. As the industry went through key changes, Michel grew with it, launching the Président brand and influencing French consumer habits at the end of the decade.

By the 1970s

Lactalis began expanding their markets, including an introduction into the US. By 1981, Lactalis had an office and manufacturing facility in the United States and rapidly grew across the nation. In addition to U.S. expansion, Lactalis continued to invest in the development across France, acquiring divisions in goat cheese, yogurt, and drinking milk.

In the 1990s Lactalis expanded even further,

reaching Eastern Europe, Poland, Italy, and Egypt, and acquiring two more major companies, historical rival Bridel and the Société des Caves de Roquefort. As a tribute to the work of his father and the dairy industry, Michel launched the André Besnier Lactapôle, a museum at the historic Laval site.

Emmanuel Besnier took over the Lactalis business

in the 2000s following his father’s death. During this time the company continued to acquire bands and expand partnerships in a wider portfolio of dairy products.

In the 2010s

Lactalis expanded its hold on drinking milk operations, which became the company’s second largest market after cheese. The brand grew throughout Spain, Southeastern Europe, Australia, and India during this time and officially positioned itself as the world’s largest dairy company.

The global business continued

to grow through the acquisition of yogurt groups and natural cheese groups in the U.S.

Today Lactalis employs 85,000 people

across 94 countries with no intention of slowing down our passion for innovation and excellence in dairy.