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Coca-Cola invests in Ontario’s dairy sector

Coca-Cola invests in Ontario’s dairy sector

The company is building a processing facility in Peterborough

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A soft drink manufacturer is making a multimillion dollar commitment to the province’s dairy industry.

Coca-Cola announced it’s investing CAD$85 million into a dairy processing facility in Peterborough, Ont.

The plant will produce milk products under the company’s Fairlife brand. The drinks are lactose free, and contain half the sugar and 50 per cent more protein than regular milk. They are also a source of nine essential nutrients.

The facility is scheduled to open in 2020 and to create 35 jobs in the community. Local producers will provide the plant with milk.

“All of our products start with high-quality great-tasting fresh milk, which is what Canadian dairy farms are dedicated to as well,” Tim Doelman, chief operating officer of Fairlife, said in a statement today.

Dairy producers are pleased with the investment, as it shows the strength of Ontario’s dairy industry.

“Any investments that can help improve the dairy industry even further is great news for us,” Ron Carter, a dairy producer from Perth County, told today. “We need more processing facilities, so this is good for dairy businesses.”

Some dairy farmers, however, question the plant’s location.

Many dairy processing facilities are already located in the Greater Toronto Area and in Eastern Ontario.

Building a plant in Southwestern Ontario may have been a better option, said Don Hardy, a dairy farmer from the Niagara Region.

“Most of the bigger dairy farmers are (in Southwestern Ontario)” he told today. “The plant should be around Goderich, because farmers now are paying to truck that milk from Goderich all the way to (processing facilities in) Peterborough or Teeswater.”

“You’d want to make them happy by having a plant up there. That’s what I would do.”

Dairy Farmers of Ontario and Lawrence MacAulay, minister of agriculture and agri-food, applauded the investment as an opportunity to encourage innovation in the dairy industry.

Fairlife products/Coca-Cola photo