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Quebec veal producer revives brand

Écolait acquires the Le Veau Charlevoix brand
Jean Robert Audet, founder of "Le Veau Charlevoix"

One of Quebec's largest veal producers hopes to beef up its product line with the revival of a financially failed rival brand.

"It's a marriage of convenience," business development expert André Michaud said about his client Écolait's acquisition last week of Le Veau Charlevoix brand.

The latter disappeared from Quebec grocery store shelves last fall after 35 years.

Michaud blamed the demise of the high-quality, grain-fed Charlevoix veal brand on high production and distribution costs.

He said Écolait, which processes some 2,000 calves a week at its modern slaughterhouse and meat packing plant in Terrebonne, just north of Montreal, bought and will relaunch the Charlevoix brand in an effort to expand its product line.

Currently, about 90% of Écolait veal comes from milk-fed calves, whose meat is lighter in colour and less beef-tasting than that of grain-fed calves.

"The Charlevoix brand will give us more product balance," said Michaud.

In addition to acquiring the brand name and website, Écolait has also hired brand founder Jean Robert Audet.

"Écolait is proud to relaunch this high-quality brand," company president Mario Maillet is quoted as saying in the press release that announced the deal on Jan. 9.  "Le Veau Charlevoix is recognized as a symbol of quality throughout Quebec, and Écolait will always be passionate about offering veal products of the highest quality."

Based in St. Hyacinthe, and with more than 100 Quebec farming suppliers and 300-plus employees working at facilities in Quebec, Ontario and the United States, Écolait produces, processes and markets deli, fresh, ready to cook and ready to eat veal products under the Vivo label

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