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Burnaby dairy plant sees skyrocketing demand due to COVID-19

Saputo Inc. says it is seeing a shift in demand for its products amid the COVID-19 outbreak
Properties next to the Sperling SkyTrain station (pictured below) in Burnaby are estimated to be worth nearly $400 million. The Saputo plant pictured below sold in 2018 and the property next to it is the subject of two lawsuits. Peterson Group photo

One Burnaby business is milking the COVID-19 pandemic through skyrocketing demand.

Saputo Inc. – which has operated a dairy plant in North Burnaby for many years - says it is seeing a shift in demand for its products amid the COVID-19 outbreak as retail sales have skyrocketed, but orders from food-service operators fell.

The company says its retail plants are running hard to meet the spike in demand as consumers stockpile food amid instructions to limit social contact. The Burnaby plant, it should be noted, is planning to leave the community eventually as the property has been sold in one of the city’s biggest-even land deals. A developer purchased the property for a future housing project. It is located next to the Sperling Skytrain station.

Executives of the dairy company say they've seen a boost in retail fluid milk and cheese sales in Canada as consumers can no longer cross the border to access cheaper gas and groceries.

The company says food service demand has almost halted, aside from quick-service restaurant outlets that continue to serve meals via takeaway or drive through.

It says some industrial demand remains, such as frozen meal manufacturers, but those that service restaurants, including salad-dressing makers, have shut down.

The company says it is responding by moving production moving away from its industrial and food-service plants into its retail facilities.

- With files from the Canadian Press

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