Que. cheesemaker expanding to handle Kraft snacks

A Saguenay-area cheesemaker has picked up public funding toward a new $4.1 million production line to make Amooza Twist cheese snacks for Kraft Canada.

Fromagerie Boivin, a family-owned firm at La Baie, about 20 km southeast of Chicoutimi, will get a $540,000 repayable contribution from Quebec’s provincial economic development ministry and another $25,000 from the provincial ag ministry’s food processing support program toward the expansion.

The production line will be dedicated to Amooza Twist, a twisted double cheese string snack made of mozzarella or cheddar and mozzarella combined.

The new line is expected to add up to 30 new jobs to a roster of about 85 staff now working at the Boivin plant, the province said in a release Wednesday.

The province’s support will allow the cheesemaker to develop a promising potential market for the company, director Luc Boivin said in the province’s release.

Don Mills, Ont.-based Kraft Canada will distribute the Amooza products made at La Baie across the country, Boivin said, noting the Twist brand, launched in recent weeks, is unique to Canada.

The project will have clear economic benefits for the province but will also promote the province as a hub of agrifood production in Canada and North America, he added.

Fromagerie Boivin, founded by the Boivin family in 1939, set up shop at its current site in 1958, with expansions and overhauls in 1987 and 2001 that allowed it to expand its sales to the Montreal and Quebec City markets.

The company now processes about 20 million litres of milk to make about 2.3 million kg of cheese per year, primarily its fresh (“frais du jour”) cheddar. Boivin in 2009 also set up a new whey processing plant, using forest biomass as an energy source.

The company also co-owns Fromagerie St-Fidele de Charlevoix with the Duperre family’s Laiterie de la Baie and about three dozen area dairy farmers. The partners bought the Swiss-type cheesemaker from Agropur in 2001.

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