Berlin-based plant-based food retailer Veganz has bought “significant parts” of the cheese alternatives producer Happy Cheeze.
Previously operating under the Dr Mannah label, Happy Cheeze filed for insolvency earlier this year.
Veganz will take on the brand’s portfolio of 13 products, which includes a range of flavoured vegan cheese spreads, as well as parmesan and camembert alternatives.
The retailer will also take over the brand’s 1,000m2 production facility in Cuxhaven, Lower Saxony.
Veganz CFO Massimo Garau declined to reveal the sum of the acquisition when asked by Just Food.
In a statement on the company’s website, Veganz said it plans to boost Happy Cheeze’s “production range, distribution channels and production capacities”.
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Garau told Just Food: “The acquisition of the manufacturing site gives us new capacity and the possibility to further expand in the future.
“The brand is a natural complement to ours and even if it is too early to comment on new products, we definitely see it as a strategic segment where we want to expand further.”
Up until now, Happy Cheeze products have been sold online, in organic stores and international retailers, including Whole Foods in the UK, plus Naturalia Vegan and Mon Epicerie Paris in France.
The brand also produces white-label plant-based cheeses for retailers.
Part of the thinking behind the acquisition, Garau said, is to “gain entry” into some of Happy Cheeze’s former distribution channels.
“We believe we can leverage on this competence and sell also our other products in the same channels.
“From a geographic point of view, we are concentrating on Germany and the DACH region [which includes Austria and Switzerland] at first, but we will certainly continue to analyse options for expanding in other countries.”
It is unclear how many jobs at Happy Cheeze’s Cuxhaven facility will be affected as a result of the acquisition.
What happens to jobs at the site is the liquidator’s responsibility, but “Veganz will certainly do its part”, said Garau.
He added: “We are purchasing machinery, among other things and we plan to retain the production site, therefore we will certainly need manpower to operate them.”
Katjesgreenfood – the investment arm of German confectioner Katjes Group – secured a stake in Veganz in 2016.