Canadian Packaging

Gay Lea Foods Announces Record Investment To Transform Canadian Dairy

By Canadian Packaging staff   

General Dairy Farmers of Ontario Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Limited Gay Lea Research & Development Centre of Excellence Mariposa Dairy Ltd Vitalus Nutrition Inc.

Phase One includes $60-million investment in the expansion of its Teeswater, Ontario facility.

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Limited has announced a significant investment of $140 million over four years to establish an innovative, nutrition and nutraceutical-grade dairy ingredients hub in Canada.

This unprecedented investment in dairy processing in Canada delivers on the Co-operative’s mission to transform more Canadian milk by building an innovative and market-driven ingredients business that caters to its customers’ needs.

As a 100 percent Canadian-owned and operated co-operative, Gay Lea Foods is committed to strong, sustainable rural communities where its members and employees live and prosper with their families. Phase one will commence in early 2017, with a $60-million expansion plan in the village of Teeswater in Bruce County, Ontario.

Phase one also includes a $3-million investment to build a Research & Development Centre of Excellence in Hamilton, Ont. This working laboratory and innovation incubator will be the nexus between research and development and commercialization throughout Gay Lea Foods’ operations, and also service its partners in the dairy, food and health sectors.

“Gay Lea Foods is motivated to shape the Canadian dairy industry of tomorrow while nourishing our farmer-owned co-operative today. Our co-operative is proving that successful and continuous growth as a wholly owned and operating Canadian dairy and food processor is possible. We are pleased to contribute to a growing Canadian economy, creating middle class jobs while sustaining our local communities,” says Gay Lea Foods president and chief executive officer Michael Barrett.

The first phase also includes upgrades and expansion at its Toronto-area food manufacturing facilities to increase its capabilities and competitiveness, improving cost efficiencies, while working to reduce its  environmental footprint.

“As a dairy farmer and co-operative member owner, I am excited that Gay Lea Foods is driving growth through innovation and the development of new markets that will increase demand for milk from Canadian dairy farms. I am also proud that Gay Lea Foods is once again leading the way by demonstrating that rural Ontario is capable of world class innovation and food manufacturing,” says Gay Lea Foods chair Steve Dolson.


  • Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Gay Lea Foods is a leader in the Canadian dairy industry and the co-operative sector, with more than 950 employees working in production facilities across Ontario;
  • Gay Lea Foods has been growing steadily, and has made a number of acquisitions in recent years, including Stirling Creamery (2016), Black River Cheese (2016), Hewitt’s Dairy (2014), Salerno (2014) and Ivanhoe Cheese (2008);
  • In October 2016, Gay Lea Foods announced a joint venture with Vitalus Nutrition Inc. to build a new dairy ingredient and butter processing facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba;
  • Gay Lea Foods also recently acquired a minority interest in Mariposa Dairy Ltd, which produces high quality goat and sheep cheeses using 100 percent Ontario fresh goat and sheep milk for Canadian and U.S. markets;
  • Teeswater has played a pivotal role in the continuous evolution of the dairy sector in Canada, starting as the home of Canada’s oldest creamery. Teeswater Creamery joined the Gay Lea Foods family in 1981.

“Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) congratulates and supports Gay Lea Foods in their continued commitment to growing Ontario dairy, through the construction of new, state-of-the-art processing capacity and R&D Centre, to expand markets for Canadian dairy products and ingredients,” says Dairy Farmers of Ontario chair Ralph Dietrich.

In 1958 a group of farmers came together with a common vision—to better the lives of Ontario farming families and co-operatives. Today, Gay Lea Foods the largest dairy co-operative in Ontario, with members on more than 1,300 dairy farms producing 35 percent of Ontario’s cow milk, and more than 4,000 members in total. The company is 100 percent Canadian-owned and operated, and has both licensed dairy cow and goat producer members in Ontario, and processes both types of milk into a range of dairy products. The co-operative is driven by innovation and growing the market for Canadian cow and goat milk, with products ranging from the consumer favorite Spreadables; North America’s first Smooth Cottage Cheese; and an innovative snack made with 100 percent cheese, Nothing But Cheese. Company information at


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