Category 2: Large Companies
Producing award-winning cheese depends on a producer’s ability to control the emergence of bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) in the milk fermentation process.
For Agropur coopérative, that meant partnering with microbiologist Dr. Sylvain Moineau, a Canada Research Chair in Bacteriophages at Université Laval and one of the world’s leading experts on bacteriophages. His team publishes research results in leading scientific journals, his laboratory houses the world’s largest public collection of reference bacteriophages, and in 2011 he was awarded an international science award by a European industry association for the industrial relevance and excellence of his research into lactic acid bacteria.
Agropur and Moineau—winners of a 2013 NSERC Synergy Award for Innovation—have been collaborating for 17 years in the area of cheese manufacture, lactic acid bacteria and their phages. This collaboration has resulted in a state-of-the-art program to control the emergence of new phages and to preserve the high quality and typicity of Agropur’s cheddar cheeses—those special characteristics that make each type of cheese unique.
Agropur started as a regional co-operative in Granby, Quebec, in 1938. Today it has 29 manufacturing plants in Canada and the United States, transforming more than 3.2 billion L of milk per year into myriad dairy products.
In 2008, the new Agropur Research and Development Centre opened in Quebec to develop new products and processes as well as provide scientific and technical support to the milk-processing operations.