Our story

Lactopôle - Historique 1933 1933 19 October: André Besnier started his business at 52, rue d’Avesnières, Laval. He and his employee collected 35 litres of milk and made their first 17 Camemberts.
Lactopôle - Historique 1955 1955 When André Besnier died suddenly, aged 61, on 21 June 1955, he was succeeded by his son Michel Besnier, 27. The company Michel Besnier took over had 50 staff, a turnover of 250 million old French francs (€380m) and collected 7 million litres of milk.
Lactopôle - Historique 1968 1968 The launch of Président Camembert was a stroke of technological and marketing genius. It revolutionised the Camembert market and took the group to a new dimension. Embodying the high quality of France’s gastronomic traditions, Président, the group’s flagship brand, set out to conquer the world.
Lactopôle - Historique 1985 1985 The group made its plans to enter the liquid milk market clear by launching Lactel. It rapidly became a major brand.
Lactopôle - Historique 1990 1990 Besnier group took over the Bridel group, which at the time had a turnover half as big as Besnier’s own. This, the group’s largest acquisition, was to be the first in a long series. During the 1990s, Besnier group doubled in size.
Lactopôle - Historique 1992 1992 During the year, the group confirmed its market-leading position on the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheese market, when it netted two prize catches, the prestigious Roquefort and Comté.
Lactopôle - Historique 1999 1999 To mark its increasingly international scope, the Besnier company changed its name to become Lactalis Group. Lactopôle, a museum dedicated to the history of the group and the dairy industry, also opened during the year.
2000 Michel Besnier died suddenly at the age of 71. This outstanding businessman left behind him Europe’s leading dairy group, with 15,000 staff and turnover of 30bn French francs (€4.57bn). His son Emmanuel took over his place at the helm of the group
Lactopôle - Historique 2006Lactopôle - Historique 2006Lactopôle - Historique 2006 2007 The group entered a new era when it completed two external growth operations, applauded by the financial community. By taking over Galbani, Italy’s leading cheese producer and Europe’s leading Italian-style cheese producer, Lactalis became the world’s second-largest cheese manufacturer. A few months later, Lactalis and Nestlé created a joint venture to supply chilled dairy products to nine countries in Europe. This made Lactalis a major player in this segment, with a complete product range and a well-known brand, La Laitière.
Lactopôle - Historique 2011 2011 Lactalis became the world’s largest dairy products group when it took an 83.3% share in Italian dairy group Parmalat. This external growth operation was the perfect complement to the group’s business and gave it a significant foothold in Canada, Australia, South Africa and South America.