Essex Winer Review

Fromageries Bel of France

Fromageries Bel of France is pleased to announce that the company is expanding its Canadian activities and starting in 2007 will begin producing one of its major brands for the first time in Canada.


Fromageries Bel continues to experience unprecedented growth in the popularity of its two leading brands, The Laughing Cow, also known as La Vache Qui Rit, and Mini Babybel(R). As part of its strategy to keep up with consumer demand, Fromageries Bel’s fully owned subsidiary Bel Cheese Canada Inc. will begin producing The Laughing Cow wedges in Canada under a co-packing agreement with Quebec-based cheese manufacturer, Fromagerie Bergeron.

More than $10 million will be invested over the next few years on setting up the production facility, machinery for making The Laughing Cow wedges, establishing the Bel Cheese Canada operation and marketing. Approximately 24 direct jobs will be created and numerous indirect jobs are expected. Furthermore, Bel Cheese Canada will purchase raw materials in Quebec for producing The Laughing Cow wedges as well as specific packaging materials.

The company also has strengthened its national distribution relationship with Agropur Fine Cheese Division, which will continue to be the sole distributor and sales partner for all The Laughing Cow and Mini Babybel product lines across Canada. The Laughing Cow wedges are creamy and spreadable, individually wrapped cheese pieces packaged in a distinctive round box and Mini Babybel is 100% natural, semi-soft ripened cheese pieces that are individually wrapped in red wax.

“We are thrilled and very proud to announce this expansion and we are committed to continuing our tremendous success here by bringing Canadians more of the products that have become hugely popular across the country,” said Bel Cheese Canada spokesman Thibaud Joubert, general manager. “Canadians have been enjoying our products for years and with the introduction of The Laughing Cow production right here in Canada, we will be able to bring even more of our products to them.”

“Bergeron is very proud to become a partner in producing Fromageries Bel’s remarkably popular products right here in Quebec,” said Roger Bergeron, general manager of St. Nicolas, Quebec-based Fromagerie Bergeron. “We look forward to working closely with Bel Cheese Canada as it grows its business in Canada and build on the exceptional success of its brands.”

For its part, Agropur Fine Cheese Division is committed to strengthening its long-standing relationship with Fromageries Bel and enhancing distribution of its brands across Canada.

“For the last 15 years, Agropur has played a strategic and important role in developing and nurturing Fromagerie Bel’s market deployment from coast-to-coast and we look forward to stimulating their future growth in Canada,” said Robert Gour, president of Agropur Fine Cheese Division.

In addition to the production facility, Bel Cheese Canada is also planning to launch new products under The Laughing Cow and Mini Babybel product lines in 2007. Starting on January 15, 2007, Mini Babybel Light will feature the Health Check(TM) logo on its packaging following an evaluation by the Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada’s registered dietitians. It will also be introduced in new packages of different sizes to accommodate all types of consumption needs.

About Bel Cheese Canada Inc.
Bel Cheese Canada Inc. is a fully owned subsidiary of France-based Fromageries Bel, S.A., a leading marketer and manufacturer of branded cheeses. With 8,719 employees and with products sold in more than 120 countries, Fromageries Bel is the third largest branded cheese manufacturer globally Canadians have enjoyed the company’s product lines, including Mini Babybel, The Laughing Cow, Kiri, Cheez Dippers and Party Cubes, for more than 40 years. Visit Bel on the Web at www.bel-group.com.

About Agropur Fine Cheese
A leader in the Canadian dairy industry, Agropur has 4,060 members, 3,900 employees, and 21 plants, as well as several offices and distribution centres, throughout the country. It processes nearly two billion litres of milk annually and offers an impressive product line, including the popular Québon, Oka, Sealtest, Yoplait, Natrel and Island Farm labels. Agropur’s Fine Cheese Division is the most important manufacturer and distributor of fine cheeses in Canada.


About Fromagerie Bergeron
Fromagerie Bergeron is a successful, family-run cheese manufacturer based in Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly near Québec City. In business since 1988, the company employees more than 100 people and has gained a noteable reputation in the Canadian market for their quality cheese products including Gouda Classique, Le Fin Renard, Le Calumet, La Patte Blanche and Le Seigneur de Tilly. More than 20 years later, the Bergeron family continues to lead this company and has received numerous prestigious awards. The company recently received a silver medal for Le Calumet and bronze medal for Le Fin Renard at the “8th Annual Kdsiade International Cheese Competition.” For more information, visit www.bergeroncheese.com.

NOTES from Gary:
Bergeron Le Fin Renard and Le Calumet cheese are both currently available at very reasonable prices at COSTCO. I recommend both of these cheeses when serving any local Riesling or Pinot Grigio.