Although Canada has a traditional reputation as a cheddar-style cheese producer, annual domestic consumption for speciality cheese types increased by a reported 378 per cent from 1972 to 2002 - a growth opportunity that Arla Foods-is keen to tap.
According to the National Cheese posted sales of C$100 million last year, and is a major manufacturer and supplier of speciality cheese from its two Ontario-based cheese sites, in addition to importing a number of speciality cheeses from Italy, and many other European, North and South American countries.
Among its collective portfolio, National Cheese currently manufactures over 35 cheese products, including specialities such as feta-, gorgonzola-, ricotta- and mascarpone-type products, as well as more mainstream cheese such as Monterry Jack - all of which are produced under the national Tre Stelle brand.
"The new company will become a leading supplier of speciality cheeses in Canada, providing an extensive range of imported and domestic varieties, strong service and continued focus on expanding sales of the fastest growing segment in the Canadian cheese market," Arla Foods said in a statement this week.
"Over the next few months, we will be focused on activities that will ensure the successful integration of our two companies as well as reinforcing the relationships we have with our customers, suppliers and other stake holders," the company added.
Arla Foods Canada is already a leading supplier of speciality cheese from its parent production facilities in Europe as well as through its licensed Canadian cheese production sites. Its brands sold in Canada include Arla, Dolfino, Mediterra, Dofo and Rosenberg.