USA – The Swiss milk and dairy products processor, Emmi has acquired a blue cheese production facility in Seymour, Wisconsin from the Great Lakes Cheese Company for an undisclosed amount.
The deal expands Emmi’s capacity for the production of blue cheese in the country which is its largest international market.
In the US, the company primarily produces and sells cheese and the business involves both exported cheeses from Switzerland and locally produced cheeses, made predominantly from cow’s milk.
The transaction includes the factory, the related land and all of the production facilities and equipment.
According to Emmi, the 50 people the factory houses will be offered continued employment at the plant.
Emmi, which operates in the country as Emmi Roth has strengthened its speciality cheese segment in recent years and the acquisition of this new blue cheese plant will continue to grow these efforts.
Emmi Roth’s current blue cheese portfolio includes the Buttermilk® Blue Cheese, in Original, Smoked (dubbed “Moody Blue”) and Affinée (mature) varieties.
Buttermilk Blue is a premium cheese made from raw cow’s milk and aged a minimum of 60 days.
Emmi Roth markets its blue cheeses for the retail and the food service sector.
The addition of the plant in Seymour, Wisconsin, means that Emmi will be able to extend the value chain, and have more flexibility for Emmi Roth to develop and offer new formats and varieties of blue cheese.
“We believe in the blue cheese category and see this as an opportunity to strengthen our position in the market,” said Tim Omer, president and managing director of Emmi Roth.
“This acquisition gives us access to a talented group of cheesemakers and provides us with additional resources to expand our current production and develop new blue cheese products for our customers.”
Opened in 2005, the blue cheese plant specialises in the production and packaging of premium quality blue cheese and produces more than seven million pounds of cheese (roughly 3.5 million kilograms).
The plant also has equipment to crumble blue cheese and pack it into cups for the retail trade or larger portions for the food service sector.
Last year, Emmi increased its stake in Emmi Ambrosi France, a packaged cheese joint venture in France, from 51% to 85%.
In the same year, the company sold a 22% stake in yogurt brand Siggi’s, as it aims to focus its US business on milk and cheese products.