US – Saputo, a leading Canadian dairy company, has strengthened its business in the United States with a US$118m acquisition of Carolina Aseptic and Carolina Dairy facilities. 

Carolina Aseptic develops, manufactures, packages and distributes aseptic shelf-stable food products and beverages out of a purpose-built facility in Troy, North Carolina, in the US.

Nearby, Carolina Dairy manufactures, packages and distributes refrigerated yogurt in spouted pouches in Biscoe, North Carolina. 

According to the Montreal-based firm, the two facilities will join Saputo’s US dairy division bringing with them at least 230 employees. 

The acquisition will better position Saputo for capturing the increasing demand for “aseptic protein beverages and nutritional snacks. 

“This investment aims to reinforce the strength of Saputo’s core business by increasing our capacity to manufacture and distribute products in the rapidly growing aseptic beverage and food categories, as well as the nutritional snacks space,” said Lino A. Saputo, chair of the board and CEO at Saputo. 

Saputo Global Expansion

Saputo which produces, markets and distributes a wide array of dairy products, including cheese, fluid milk, extended shelf-life milk and cream products, cultured products, and dairy ingredients, has been doubling down on its global expansion in recent times. 

Earlier this year, the group -which ranks among the top three cheese producers and is one of the largest producers of extended shelf-life and cultured dairy products- agreed to purchase activities of Wensleydale Dairy Products for £23m. 

The acquisition of Wensleydale added a number of regional cheeses – including the protected geographical indicated cheese of its namesake – to Saputo’s portfolio, as well as the Yorkshire dairy’s network of 40 local farms and novel cheesemaking starter cultures.    

The Canadian firm also recently purchased vegan cheesemaker Bute Island Foods for an undisclosed sum and pledged £2.9m of investment over five years to support community initiatives local to the business. 

US Dairy consumption at highest in six decades

Back to the United States, Saputo investment comes at a time when the United States dairy industry is seeing a shift in dairy consumption away from fluid milk and more toward cheese and other products.   

There is also a move by some consumers into plant-based beverages while others are embracing a vegan diet.  

lan Bjerga, senior vice president of communications for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) however notes that this transition is not significantly impacting the US’s appetite for dairy.  

“Much gets written about fluid milk’s decline, but in reality, per-capita US dairy consumption is at its highest in six decades and shows no signs of abating,” Bjerga adds. 

Saputo’s acquisition of companies outside the fluid milk sector is therefore expected to better position it to better take advantage of the shifting dairy consumption trends in the US. 

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