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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.

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.

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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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What is the impact of historically high inflation on the UK consumer landscape?

The average UK consumer is experiencing a severe cost-of living crisis as inflation surges to a forty-year high and the price of goods continues to rise. This shock is the result of the sharply increasing costs of commodities, energy, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and is threatening FMCG manufacturers, retailers, and foodservice operators’ ability to survive and grow. Inflation will have a profound effect on many consumer-facing industries in 2022 and beyond. Consult GlobalData’s new whitepaper, Inflation in the UK: The Impact of Historically High Inflation on the UK Consumer Landscape, to better understand shifts in consumer behavior and their impact on spending patterns, as well as the implications for UK businesses. This whitepaper covers:  
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  • What impact is inflation having on UK retail sales?
  • What tactics are businesses relying on to tackle the effects of high inflation?
  • How are consumers changing their behaviors to cope with the higher cost of living?
  • Which industry sectors are most vulnerable to reduced consumer demand?
  • How is the government responding to high inflation?
  • How long will high inflation last in the UK?
  • How can your company survive and thrive in a high inflation environment?
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