Lactalis to acquire Kraft Heinz’s natural cheese division
With this acquisition, Lactalis will acquire a portfolio of brands including Cracker Barrel, Breakstone’s, Knudsen, Polly-O, Athenos, Hoffman’s and, outside the US and Canada only, Cheez Whiz.
In addition, Kraft Heinz will partner with Lactalis on a perpetual license for Kraft in natural, grated and international cheeses and Velveeta in natural and international cheeses.
Under the terms of the transaction, Lactalis will acquire three Kraft Heinz production facilities, in Tulare, CA, Walton, NY and Wausau, WI, and a distribution center in Weyauwega, WI.
Approximately 750 Kraft Heinz employees will be joining Lactalis, and the company expects to add additional jobs following the closing of the transaction, which is expected in the first half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.
“The people of Kraft Heinz have built an extraordinary portfolio of high-quality cheese products and brands that consumers love and trust – and we are honored to have been chosen by Kraft Heinz to help carry this legacy forward,” Thierry Clément, CEO of Lactalis North America, said.
“This combination of complementary offerings is a clear strategic and cultural fit that will create important new opportunities for domestic and international expansion, product innovation, and positive community and employee impact. We look forward to working with and learning from our new colleagues, building on our proud histories together and continuing our collaborative strategy for expansion: to invest, to include, to support, and to grow.”
With a portfolio of brands that includes Président, Galbani, Parmalat, Stonyfield Organic, siggi’s, Karoun, rondele, and Black Diamond, Lactalis has a presence in the US, with eight plants in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Idaho, Arizona and California, and 2,600 employees across the country.
Lactalis in the US purchases nearly 3.2bn pounds of milk annually from US dairy farmers, and the company’s US-made products are available nationwide and exported around the world.