In a strategic alliance with Costa Rica’s Florida Ice and Farm (Fifco) and Coopeleche, Mexico’s Grupo Lala will begin marking its milk brand, “Lala”, in the country.
The milk production will be in San Ramon, with its own separate production line in the same factory that currently produces the “Mu!” milk brand by Fifco. Lala says the raw material will come from Coopeleche, the dairy producer owned by Fifco.
Meanwhile, Flordia Bebidas (a division of Fifco) will continue to market the Mu! brand and, additional, will sell and distribute Lala products through its distribution channels.
Lala’s alliance with Fifco is an aggressive entry into a market that it has found to difficult in terms of distribution and dominated by Cooperativa de Productores de Leche R.L. (Dos Pinos). The move puts pressure on Dos Pinos who has dominated the Costa Rican dairy market for years.
“With this initiative we add a new production and distribution infrastructure, thus achieving higher capacities that will allow us to respond in a timely manner to the needs of consumers,” said Miguel Garcia, Grupo Lala director of Corporate Affairs.
The company publicly denies the “milk war” in Nicaragua, that led to last month’s decision by Costa Rica officials to prevent Lala products produced in Nicaragua from entry into the country, is behind the deal with Fifco.
Florida Ice and Farm is a Costa Rican food and beverages company headquartered in the province of Heredia, Costa Rica. It has a catalog of over 2,000 products, sold in over 15 countries. It’s signature product is the Imperial beer. Besides producing beer in Costa Rica, in 2012 through its subsidiary Cerverceria Costa Rica, Fifco purchased North American Breweries Holdings (NAB) that sells Genesee and Labatt beer in the United States. In 2008 Fifco began exporting its beer and refreshments to China, as well as importing Chinese beverages into Costa Rica. Fifco’s brands include the Cristal water, the distribution rights for Pepsi Cola in the country, Musmanni bakeries and locally brews Heneiken beer at its facility at La Ribera de Belen.
Grupo Lala is the only dairy company that operates nationwide in Mexico. It expanded into the United States in 2008, acquiring a manufacturing plant in Omaha, Nebraska, and in 2009, LALA acquired National Dairy, Farmland Dairies and Promised Land. LALA is now the largest dairy company in Latin America.