ITALY – Lactalis, a French dairy giant, is poised to inject a substantial €160 million (US$172 million) into its Italian operations by the end of 2024, marking Italy as a “strategic country” for the company.

This investment comes on the heels of a five-year commitment totaling over €248 million in the country.

Approximately 88% of the current investment package is earmarked for the improvement, maintenance, and modernization of Lactalis’ 31 facilities in Italy.

Renowned brands under its umbrella, including Galbani, Parmalat, Ambrosi, and Leerdammer, are expected to benefit from these enhancements.

A noteworthy portion of the recent investments, totaling €26 million, went into establishing a new headquarters in Milan.

This move further solidifies Lactalis’ presence in Italy and accommodates over 350 employees in its new offices at Largo Tazio Nuvolari.

In 2023, Lactalis allocated €64 million for investments in Italy, with an additional €70 million planned for 2024.

The funds are intended for research and development, logistics, supply chain activities, as well as the maintenance and modernization of factories.

The comprehensive investment strategy encompasses various areas, ranging from food safety and employee health protection to reducing environmental impacts, streamlining operational complexity, and increasing production capacity.

Giovanni Pomella, CEO of Lactalis’ business in Italy, emphasized the importance of investing in the development of the dairy supply chain for competitiveness in a dynamic economic context.

Pomella highlighted Lactalis’ responsibility as a sector leader to invest, network, and identify shared paths to support Italian dairy products both domestically and internationally, with a focus on sustainability and local specialties.

The global investments by Lactalis increased by 17% in 2022 compared to the previous year, reaching €750 million. These funds are allocated to modernize production sites and reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

In 2022, Lactalis achieved €14.5 billion in revenue in Europe, contributing to more than half of the company’s total revenue.

However, earlier this year, the French group faced accusations of “unfair” trading practices in milk procurement by Italy’s principal farmers’ association, Coldiretti.

The association accused Lactalis of lowering contracted milk prices to the detriment of farmers, an issue that raised concerns and brought attention to fair trade practices within the industry.