Saputo acquires vegan cheese maker Bute Island Foods

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sheese maker Bute Island Foods has been acquired by Saputo
Sheese maker Bute Island Foods has been acquired by Saputo

Related tags: vegan

UK-based vegan cheese maker Bute Island Foods has been acquired by Canadian dairy Saputo for an undisclosed sum.

Located on the Isle of Bute, off the West Coast of Scotland, Bute produces dairy alternative cheese products for retail and foodservice markets under its Sheese brand. The business employs 180 people, including its founders.

Lino Saputo, chair of the board and chief executive, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Bute Island Foods team and the wealth of knowledge they bring to our global family.

Commitment to alternatives

“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.”

Saputo has also pledged more than CDN$5m (£2.9m) over five years to support local Bute Island community initiatives.

The cheese maker also announced its purchase of the Reedsburg, Wisconsin facility of Wisconsin Specialty Protein, which makes value-added ingredients like goat whey, organic lactose and other dairy powders. Saputo estimated the combined deals cost CDN$187m (£109m).

UK expansion

Saputo’s acquisition of Bute Island Foods was its latest foray into the UK dairy and alternative dairy sector, following its purchase of Cathedral City and Clover owner Dairy Crest in 2019 for £975m.

It has since expanded into dairy-free and free-from segments in the UK, with the launch of Vitalite and lactose-free cheese snacks aimed at children in Asda stores. 

Meanwhile, European officials have rejected changes to food regulation that would have banned the use of dairy terminology and imagery in the description of plant-based cheese and milk alternatives.

Amendment 171 – dubbed plant-based dairy censorship by campaigners – would have prohibited the use of formats such as cartons for plant-based milk and descriptions such as ‘creamy’, ‘buttery’ or ‘vegan alternative to yoghurt’ on packaging.

Related topics: Dairy, Veganism, Operations

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