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Our Co-operative

Gay Lea Foods is a leading Canadian co-operative. Dedicated to innovation, the development of high quality products and growing the market for Canadian milk, our 100% Canadian-owned co-operative is the first of its kind to include licensed dairy cow and dairy goat members, and process both kinds of milk into a range of dairy products – from the consumer favourite Spreadables and North America’s first Smooth Cottage Cheese to Ivanhoe Nothing But, an innovative snack made with 100% cheese. With members on roughly 1,400 dairy farms in Ontario and Manitoba and more than 4,100 producer and preferred shareholders, Gay Lea Foods is as renowned for our co-operative-inspired values as we are for our high quality, innovative and award winning dairy products. From the moment our milk is “born on the farm”, until our products reach the table, our farmers, members and employees collaborate to meet member needs, contribute to the sustainable development of communities, and ensure our co-operative remains well positioned to lead toward an innovative, profitable and sustainable future in the Canadian dairy industry

Our Story

Our story began in 1958 when a group of farmers came together with a common vision to build a better future for themselves and their communities; today, Gay Lea Foods is a leading Canadian co-operative. Here’s how we stay true to our Born on the Farm heritage.

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Since 1958, our dedication to innovation and the development of high quality products has allowed us to respond to consumers’ evolving tastes and grow the market for Canadian milk and dairy products, while multiple Canadian acquisitions have expanded our product family and further enhanced our reputation for fresh, quality products consumers can trust.

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We do things differently here. From our farms and production facilities, to our distribution networks and employees, we lead with the co-operative inspired values and principles upon which our co-operative was founded in 1958. Adhering to these principles in all that we do allows us to provide trusted, ingredient solutions you can count on.


“As a dairy farmer owned co-operative, Gay Lea Foods is a firm believer in industry-led solutions to grow the market for Canadian cow and goat milk. We also believe in achieving success by staying true to our co-operative values and our vision of quality, innovation, partnerships, continuous improvement, and commitment to our members and employees.” – President & CEO Michael Barrett.

Photo of - Michael Barrett

Michael Barrett

President & CEO

Photo of - Rob Goodwill

Rob Goodwill


Photo of - Don Dietrich

Don Dietrich

Vice Chair

Photo of - Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson

Executive Member

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