CANADA – The Bel Group, a multinational cheese marketer, has announced that it is going to spend $87mn to build a factory to produce its Mini Babybel cheese snacks in Quebec.

According to Food Drink & Franchise, the French cheese marketer said that the plant in Sorel-Tracey, Quebec, will be its first Canadian production facility.

With commercial production scheduled to begin in early 2020, the project aims to create 170 jobs between the plant in Sorel-Tracy and Bel Canada’s Montreal head office.

“Bel has been marketing its products in Canada since 1957, and we know the local dairy sector’s expertise.

With this new plant, we are becoming a full-fledged Quebec dairy processor,” said Catherine Thomas, President of Bel Canada.

The factory will also contribute to the growing demand for Canadian milk by using Canadian ingredients to produce the cheese snacks.

“This cheese is currently imported and will soon be produced with 100% Canadian milk,” added Bruno Letendre, Chair of Les Producteurs de lait du Québec.

“This is good news for local dairy producers.

This investment will generate employment and much-needed economic benefits in our regions.”

The move comes as part of Bel Canada’s strategy to grow its local manufacturing capability to strengthen its position in the Canadian market.

The Bel Group currently has around 12,700 employees in some 30 subsidiaries across the world.

Its products are prepared at 32 production sites and distributed in nearly 130 countries, and last year it had sales of US$4.34 billion.