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Lactalis Canada NEXT Ventures Inaugural Innovation Program Selects Winning Project

February 8, 2023

Crowdsourcing program draws over 100 submissions geared toward waste reduction

February 8, 2023 – Toronto, ONLactalis Canada, the Canadian dairy leader behind iconic brands like Cracker Barrel, Black Diamond, Balderson, Astro and Lactantia and a subsidiary of France-based Lactalis Group, is delighted to announce the inaugural winner of the company’s internal innovation program Lactalis Canada NEXT Ventures which received over 100 submissions focused around the theme of Waste Reduction in all its forms including, but not limited to time, abilities, financial resources, food, processing, packaging, energy and material resources in 2022.

The winning project focuses on a fully digitized reporting system for Quality Assurance to facilitate greater efficiencies in collecting and analyzing quality and food safety information. The idea was submitted by Nathalie Rey, a Quality Manager at Lactalis Canada’s St. Claude Manitoba plant as a solution to reduce significant paper, time, and resources allocated to the current reporting system and in turn, decrease product wastage. The winning project will now go into incubation with a dedicated project team, key resources, tools and external expertise to build and implement a new reporting system.

“We know that some of the best ideas can come from those who have the deepest knowledge of the business. The winning project is an example of just that – where a Quality Manager on the ground at one of our manufacturing facilities identified a way to make a process she routinely performed more efficient, effective and sustainable,” said Mark Taylor, President and CEO, Lactalis Canada. “The Lactalis Canada NEXT Ventures program has created an internal platform to bring new ideas forward within the organization as seen with the overwhelming number of submissions of great quality and inventiveness in 2022. We look forward to continuing this program annually to identify innovations – big and small – to help drive our business.”

“Lactalis Canada NEXT Ventures is a great opportunity for anyone across the organization to share, develop and potentially implement the next big idea for the company,” said Nathalie Rey, Quality Manager in St. Claude, Manitoba. “I am thrilled to have participated in this process, meet and collaborate with so many leaders, experts and peers across the company and most importantly, see my idea transform into reality.”

Lactalis Canada NEXT Ventures 2022

Launched in April 2022, Lactalis Canada NEXT Ventures is an annual program designed to spur and accelerate future thinking, innovation, and creativity by empowering our people and leveraging internal crowdsourcing to explore ideas and bring to market new products, processes, technologies or business models. With a new theme every year, contributors with the most inventive and potentially viable proposals have the unique opportunity to participate in a comprehensive program to further explore and develop these new ideas from inception to implementation through the facilitation of mentorships, collaboration, resource support and external partnerships.

Following an open call to all employees in April 2022, more than 100 waste-reduction related submissions were received from across the organization. Ranging from proposed solutions that included process enhancements, unique stakeholder partnerships, as well as exploring new concepts to repurpose waste into greener solutions. The top three innovative ideas were selected based on the potential impact and feasibility of each proposal. The top three finalists, who were each awarded a cash prize, participated in the Lactalis Canada Next Ventures Pitch Day held in Toronto, Ontario and presented their proposed projects to the NEXT Council, comprised of leaders from across the organization, including Lactalis Canada’s President and CEO. Each idea was carefully evaluated by the panel based on innovativeness, sustainability and viability, as well as with input from all employees who participated in a vote to determine the Lactalis Canada NEXT Ventures winner.

About Lactalis Canada Inc.

With 140 years of brand heritage, Lactalis Canada is committed to enriching and nurturing the lives of Canadians by producing nutritious and great tasting dairy products. Named on Forbes list of Canada’s Best Employers, Lactalis Canada directly employs more than 4,000 employees, supports hundreds of farming families and contributes to the livelihoods of thousands of Canadians who provide essential services to Lactalis Canada’s more than 30 operating sites including 19 manufacturing facilities. The company’s iconic brands include Cracker Barrel, Black Diamond, P’tit Québec, Balderson, Cheestrings Ficello, aMOOza!, Astro, Khaas, siggi’s, IÖGO, IÖGO nanö, Olympic, Lactantia, Beatrice, Galbani, and Président. Lactalis Canada’s commitment to responsible and sustainable growth has been recognized with the 2021 Canadian Grocer Impact Award for Sustainability and its CDN $2.9 million investment to the communities in which it operates. Lactalis Canada is part of Lactalis Group, the world’s leading dairy company, headquartered in Laval, France. For more information, visit

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Media Contact:

Sarah Sutton

Manager, Corporate Communications, Lactalis Canada I c: (437) 249-2730