Canadian-based dairy company Saputo Inc. has announced the strategic acquisition of vegan cheesemaker Bute Island Foods, a much-loved producer of the award-winning vegan Sheese range operational for over three decades in the UK.
Saputo is one of the top ten dairy processors globally, the top dairy processor in Australia, and the second largest in Argentina. In the USA, Canada, and the UK, Saputo ranks among the top producers of cheese and other dairy products. The acquisition of Bute Island Foods represents a major investment into the plant-based dairy alternative sector, as Bute Island’s Sheese range continues to grow and enjoy success.
“Our commitment remains to expand our footprint in the dairy alternatives space” – Saputo
Located on the Isle of Bute, off the West Coast of Scotland, the company employs approximately 180 people, including its founders. In an interview with vegconomist, Bute Island Foods revealed its plans to grow and expand its portfolio and this acquisition will surely facilitate such plans; “We’ve been attending expos in the USA for a few years now so hopefully our products will be launching there soon. And of course, we want a bigger portfolio of products,” said the Scottish brand.
Along with the acquisition of the Reedsburg facility of Wisconsin Specialty Protein – a value-added ingredient manufacturer – the move into dairy alternatives represents a combined investment of approximately CDN$187 million for Saputo. The company has also pledged more than CDN$5 million over five years to support local Bute Island community initiatives.
As the alternative dairy market continues to grow around the globe, more and more conventional dairy companies are looking towards plant-based or cell-cultured dairy to diversify their portfolios. In a major breakthrough, the EU has recently rejected severe and unprecedented restrictions on plant-based dairy, in an attack led by conventional dairy lobbyists.
“We are delighted to welcome the Bute Island Foods team and the wealth of knowledge they bring to our global family. Our commitment remains to expand our footprint in the dairy alternatives space to meet the changing demands of our customers and consumers. This investment marks an important milestone that will allow us to accelerate our growth in this area globally, putting innovation at the forefront of our priorities,” commented Lino A. Saputo, Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Saputo Inc.