French dairy major Lactalis has acquired dessert manufacturer Marie Morin Canada for an undisclosed sum.

The deal sees Lactalis entering the North American desserts category for the first time.

The acquisition, carried out through Lactalis’ local arm Lactalis Canada, is solely for the Canadian operation and does not concern the separate Marie Morin France business.

Québec-based Marie Morin Canada makes French-style desserts such as crème brûlée, chocolate mousse and cheesecakes. The transaction also includes Marie Morin Canada’s production facility in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Québec and will add 52 employees to Lactalis’s local roster of more than 4,000 workers.

Producing fresh and frozen desserts in glass jars, Marie Morin Canada was set up in 2004 by David Morin and Sophie Le Vexier. The company sells its products domestically and exports to markets including the US and Mexico.

In Canada, Lactalis has a dairy portfolio including cheese and yogurt. The company manufactures brands including Cracker Barrel, Black Diamond, Cheestrings Ficello and Siggi’s. It has 30 operating sites, including 19 manufacturing facilities, in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.

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Speaking about its acquisition, Mark Taylor, the CEO of Lactalis’s business in Canada, said: “As part of our broad-based dairy portfolio that continues to evolve and expand to meet consumer trends and demands, this acquisition will enable Lactalis Canada to pursue its strategy in developing desserts for the North American market and will further expand our product offering for our valued retail and foodservice customers.”

Just Food asked Marie Morin Canada for its comments on the deal.

David Morin said: “As the former founder and CEO of Marie Morin Canada, it is with full confidence that I pass on the torch to Lactalis Canada, who are committed to maintaining its values and developing the Marie Morin story.”

In April, Lactalis announced further North American expansion plans when it outlined plans to invest in a factory in the US to boost its production of whey.

It is spending $32m on setting up a new evaporator and powerhouse at its facility in Buffalo in New York state.

Last week, Brazil’s competition authority said it would embark on a review of Lactalis’s planned acquisition of assets in the country owned by Fonterra and Nestlé.