Fromagerie l'Ancêtre New Factory: a foothold in Trois-Rivières for Fromagerie L’Ancêtre

New Factory: a foothold in Trois-Rivières for Fromagerie L’Ancêtre

On August 14, 2023 (article published in Le Nouvelliste – text by Amélie Houle)

New Factory: a foothold in Trois-Rivières for Fromagerie L’Ancêtre

Thanks to a financial aid of $3.2 million announced by the federal and provincial governments, Fromagerie L’Ancêtre is expanding, this time in Trois-Rivières. The Bécancour-based cheese factory, holding the title of the largest Canadian producer of organic cheese, will have a new base on the north shore of the river with its new packaging, maturation, and aging facility located on Bellefeuille Street.

Present in Trois-Rivières on Monday morning to announce these investments, both levels of government announced investing over a million dollars each in the project to allow Fromagerie L’Ancêtre to equip itself with cutting-edge maturation, cutting, and packaging facilities and acquire new packaging equipment. The impacts of these investments, including the development of new markets, facility expansion, increased productivity, reduced production costs, and the development of new markets, are expected to be significant.

“It will allow us to expand our workspace for production, cutting, and packaging, but in a new space where we can place our new equipment. They will allow us to modify our packaging methods, automate some processes that were more manual before, and improve the quality of our packaging. But we will also have interesting efficiency in cutting, packaging, and from an energy perspective, with notably better product aging quality and maintaining the working environment,” says Pascal Désilets, CEO of Fromagerie L’Ancêtre.

Greener Products

In addition to a substantial increase in productivity, Fromagerie L’Ancêtre also focuses on offering greener and more eco-friendly products to its customers. “[…] Over the past 10 years, Fromagerie L’Ancêtre has invested more than 12 million dollars to increase and improve its production of organic cheeses and butters for the Canadian and Quebec markets. Our contribution to sustainable agriculture for over 30 years is a source of great pride.”

Thus, the new equipment will allow the Bécancour-based company to reduce the use of plastic film in its packaging, access eco-friendly packaging, and improve the energy efficiency of its maturation process.

“For us, there are environmental gains in our footprint because we now concentrate all our cheese aging in Trois-Rivières, but there is also an energy gain because we really maximize our cheese aging space on a smaller surface. Previously, we went outside to age our cheese, talking about 76 trucks and 21,400 km per year of truck transport, so now all our cheese is stored in our refrigerators in Trois-Rivières, eliminating this inter-facility transport.”

— Pascal Désilets, CEO of Fromagerie L’Ancêtre

“It is interesting for us to be able to contribute to the development of this flagship and to associate Trois-Rivières with this cheese factory. It is an honor, but it also allows us to have people working for us, in addition to contributing to a short circuit because they will reduce distances between service points, so everything is advantageous for us,” says Trois-Rivières Mayor Jean Lamarche, who expressed his joy on Monday to see the Bécancour-based company cross the Laviolette Bridge.

Several Sums Invested

While the federal government invests the sum of $1,077,100, the provincial government injects $1,140,000. On the federal side, the total amount is divided into two parts, namely a repayable contribution of $450,000 from Economic Development Canada under the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (CERI) program, as well as a contribution of up to $627,100 granted by AAC under the Supply Management Investment Fund, which helps supply-managed product processors increase their competitiveness and resilience in the evolving markets.

“Our government has committed to setting up a fund to compensate for international agreements, so we want to ensure that we maintain the competitiveness of businesses. Our assistance today is part of that commitment,” says the Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for DEC, Soraya Martinez Ferrada, who made her first announcement as the new minister on Monday.

The provincial government, on the other hand, has divided the amount of over a million dollars into different components. This includes a loan of $350,000 granted through the Economic Development Fund of the Ministry of Economy, Innovation, and Energy, and a loan of $350,000 from Investissement Québec’s own funds. Another amount, this time $340,000, has been granted under the Food Processing: Automation and Quality Systems program to support the implementation of three automation projects. Finally, a sum of up to $100,000 will be granted by the provincial government and administered by the Québec-Canada Agri-Food Export Group to increase the visibility of the company outside Quebec and promote its products.

“The commitment we have made to promote greater sustainable food autonomy in Quebec includes supporting our food processing sector. The amounts granted to Fromagerie L’Ancêtre will contribute, among other things, to promoting its productivity and the adoption of sustainable practices. I wish the best of success to this company that offers quality organic cheeses and butters here and elsewhere,” says André Lamontagne, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food and Minister responsible for the Centre-du-Québec region.

While the additions are significant, at present, there is no talk of substantial job additions to the current 75, but rather the maintenance of jobs. However, the coming years could allow for the creation of a few jobs, confirms Pascal Désilets. The new Trois-Rivières factory thus joins the Fromagerie in Bécancour, as well as the one in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, formerly known as Fromagerie Le Baluchon.

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