The deal is exclusive with retail giant Asda and will come in block and slice form. Saputo is hoping to build on the success of its category-leading Vitalite spread.
Last year, sales of dairy-free cheese alternatives grew by 25% and 27% in value and volume, respectively, and continue to see impressive growth. The category is now worth £20.4m, reflecting the increasing popularity of the sector.
Vitalite is currently the UK’s leading dairy-free spread, valued at nearly £11m and delivering year-on-year value growth of 38.5%. According to the company, it has outperformed the Dairy Free Spreads category and sells over more than double the volume of its nearest competitor.
“Consumers are increasingly switching to free-from diets and one of the foods they miss most when they go dairy-free is cheese,” said Emilie Grundy, senior brand manager at Saputo Dairy UK.
“Our Vitalite Dairy Free Cheese Alternatives range has been specially formulated to ensure that it delivers on taste while performing very similarly to traditional cheese when cooked. We are confident our launch will appeal to both current dairy avoiders and also those who are exploring the category for the first time.”
In April, Canadian dairy processor Saputo completed the acquisition of Cathedral City and Clover owner Dairy Crest, in a deal worth £975m.
Saputo is just the latest firm to expand its vegan, plant-based or free-from range. As reported earlier today (7 October), the Meatless Farm Co launched its plant-based burger in JD Wetherspoon pubs across the UK.
Seeds and nuts producer Whitworths is also seeking to enter the lucrative plant-based ready meal sector with a new range planned for next year, as the firm announced a reduction in turnover in its full-year results.