1964: there is strength in numbers
In 1964, six cooperatives united to launch together a national brand of dairy products. Sodima was thus born thanks to the willingness of individuals convinced of the need to join forces to answer the changing requirements of French consumers. By creating big household brands such as Yoplait first and then Candia, they achieved the impossible: to upgrade the image of the most ordinary product by placing customers’ requirements at the heart of innovation.
Opposite: André Gaillard, Chairman of Sodima, and Jacques Tulasne, Chief Executive: two key founding members of the cooperative.
1960s and 1970s: the birth of big household brands
Created in 1965, Yoplait managed, in less than 10 years, to become the leader of the yoghurt market. The brand expanded rapidly worldwide thanks to franchising. The Candia brand itself was created in 1971. It is the leading French brand of drinking milk which shaped the milk industry by inventing colour coding for example (red for whole milk, bleu for semi-skimmed and green for skimmed) and by offering a diversified range (flavoured milk, vitamin-enriched milk etc.). Its success lies in its philosophy of “bringing producers ever closer to consumers" and in its strong ability to innovate.
Opposite: illustration created by Raymond Savignac for the Yoplait launch of 1965.
1989: the birth of Sodiaal
Several cooperatives joined Sodima over the next 25 years. Then, after pulling together their commercial forces to consolidate their development, the eleven regional cooperatives decided to share their industrial heritage and to entrust the management of their activities to a common structure which resulted in the creation of Sodiaal in 1989. A new organisation by product was put in place: Candia for milk, Yoplait for fresh dairy products and Idéval for cheese. The new cooperative group moved also into the nutrition and ingredient market. In 1998, “La Route du Lait”, the first quality and traceability-assured initiative of the dairy sector, is born.
Opposite: 7th September 1989 - celebration of the Sodiaal launch under the Grande Arche in La Défense district of Paris. The first two people (from left to right) at the front of the picture are: Michel Debatisse, first Chairman of Sodiaal and Raymond Cochet first Chief Executive.
Since 2000: consolidation of the cooperative
Sodiaal formed new partnership during the year 2000s: creation of Orlait, partnership with Savencia in CF&R, creation of Nutribio, alliance with General Mills in Yoplait. Still on the theme of strengthening the sector and diversifying the whole of the milk sector to anticipate the end of milk quotas, the take-over of Entremont and the merger with the cooperative opened new horizons for Sodiaal. The group now possesses an expertise throughout the milk sector as well as an adequate size to expand internationally.
50 years of innovation
Creation of Sodima; a union of cooperatives which merged their marketing and sales functions
Creation of Yoplait
Creation of Candia and the colour-coding of milk (red for whole milk, blue for semi-skimmed and green for skimmed)
First vitamin-enriched milk
Launch of "Le Rustique" camembert
Creation of Sodiaal
Launch of “La Route du Lait”
Entremont joined Sodiaal
Merger with the 3A cooperative
“La Route Du Lait” becomes “La Route Du Lait Connectée”
First eco-designed carton for Candia organic milk
Yoplait redevient 100% coopérative