The EU is to clear FrieslandCampina’s acquisition of Dutch cheese peers Zijerveld & Veldhuyzen after the dairy giant agreed to give up some production to competitors.
The European Commission said FrieslandCampina had put forward “a package of commitments” to assuage concerns in Brussels the deal, which also included Zijerveld’s packaging unit Den Hollander, would hit competition in the Dutch market for semi-hard goat cheese.
FrieslandCampina is the largest producer of the cheese in the Netherlands, while Veldhuyzen and Den Hollander supply products from goat farmers co-op Amalthea van Dijk, the number two firm in the country.
Brussels said Dutch consumers prefer domestic semi-hard goat cheese, which meant imports would not provide sufficient competition. It added: “Competition from alternative suppliers within the Netherlands would have been limited.”
Under the deal, rivals will “have access to a significant part of the goat cheese produced by Amalthea”. The dairy group will also stop outsourcing the production of semi-hard goat cheese to Amalthea. FrieslandCampina said 35-45% of Amalthea’s goat cheese sales would be made on the open market. It will also make raw goat milk available to third parties.
A spokesperson for FrieslandCampina told just-food the deal would still boost the company’s portfolio of “value-added” cheeses.
Zijerveld supplies retail customers in the Netherlands and surrounding markets. Den Hollander packs sliced cheese for large European retailers and industrial customers.