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May 25, 2021updated 02 Jun 2021 10:52am

Saputo snaps up UK faux-cheese business Bute Island Foods

Canadian dairy major Saputo has expanded its small presence in the dairy alternatives market with the acquisition of UK faux-cheese business Bute Island Foods, which makes the Sheese brand.

By Andy Coyne

As the company’s name suggests, Bute Island Foods is based on the Isle of Bute, off the west coast of Scotland, where it employs around 180 people. It sells its plant-based cheese alternatives in blocks, slices and creamy and grated variants online, through independent retailers and via major supermarket groups including Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.

Saputo has not provided specific financial details for the deal. However, alongside the Bute Island deal, Saputo also announced the purchase of a facility from US firm Wisconsin Specialty Protein –which manufactures ingredients such as goat whey and organic lactose – and said it had spent a total of approximately CAD187m (US$155.3m) on the two transactions.

Saputo, which in 2019 bought the UK’s Dairy Crest, described Bute Island Foods as an “innovative manufacturer, marketer and distributor of a variety of dairy-alternative cheese products for both the retail and foodservice market segments under the award-winning vegan Sheese brand, alongside private label brands”.

Saputo CEO Lino Saputo said: “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.”

Just Food has asked Bute Island to comment on the deal.

Saputo said the acquisition of the facility from Wisconsin Specialty Protein will “broaden and increase the value of its ingredients offering”. The plant is located in Reedsburg in Wisconsin.

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