Bel Group, the France-based cheese major, is to set up a factory in Canada.

The company said the facility will produce Mini Babybel cheese and is scheduled to start commercial production “in early 2020”.

The plant, to be located in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, will be Bel’s first in Canada. The business plans to spend CAD87m (US$66.1m) on the project, which it said would create “170 skilled jobs” spread between the factory and its local administrative head office in Montreal.

“Bel has been marketing its products in Canada since 1957, and we know the local dairy sector’s expertise. With this new plant, we are becoming a full-fledged Quebec dairy processor,” Catherine Thomas, the president of Bel’s Canadian business, said.

Unsurprisingly, the project has won praise in local farming circles. “This cheese is currently imported and will soon be produced with 100% Canadian milk. This is good news for local dairy producers. This investment will generate employment and much-needed economic benefits in our regions,” Bruno Letendre, chair of Les Producteurs de Lait du Québec, said.