Bute Island Foods acquired by Canada-based Saputo
Alternative dairy products are growing
Bute Island Foods, which makes vegan cheese alternative Sheese, has been acquired by Canadian dairy company Saputo whose labels include Cathedral City, Country Life, and Utterly Butterly.
Saputo, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, paid £109 million to buy both Bute Island Foods and a factory owned by Wisconsin Specialty Protein in Reedsburg.
The deal is regarded as an indication of growing interest in the vegan food category.
Bute Island Foods, founded in 1988, sells its plant-based cheese alternatives online, through independent retailers and via major supermarket groups including Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
The new owner has pledged £2.9 million over five years to support community initiatives on the island as part of its wider commitment to invest 1% of its pre-tax profits each year in community programmes and organisations.
Saputo acquired Cathedral City and Clover owner Dairy Crest in 2019 for £975m.
Data from Kantar showed the plant-based dairy category has doubled in size over the past five years and is now worth just under £600 million.
A total of 15,206 products carried The Vegan Society’s trademark in 2020, up from 14,262 in 2019, with Sheese among the labels carrying the certification.
The deal marks the first major transaction in the vegan market for law firm Dentons’ Scottish team.
Lorna McCaa, a tax partner in the firm’s Glasgow office, said: “We expect to see much more activity in the plant-based and vegan sector in the months ahead.”