Sargento to expand presence in US cheese market with acquisition of new factory

US – American food producer best known for its cheese, Sargento Foods has acquired Wisconsin-based Baker Cheese Factory to allow it to grow its packaged cheese products due to the high demand for cheese snacks.

Baker Cheese Factory exclusively produces premium mozzarella string cheese (including jalapeño, smoked and light variants) and employs 250 people at its St. Cloud base in Wisconsin.

Sargento has more than 2,000 employees at its four sites in Wisconsin, as well as a remote sales team across the U.S.

Privately-owned Sargento, one of the largest cheese suppliers in the US, views this acquisition as a breakthrough that will enable it to add new products to the already wide variety of sliced, shredded, and snack natural cheese products that it already offers.

Brian Baker, the chief executive of Bakery Cheese Factory, said: “We believe Sargento has the right culture, capabilities, and commitment to innovation to grow our business for generations to come.

Our award-winning string cheese and commitment to service and quality align with everything Sargento seeks to accomplish. We welcome this important step toward our future.”

In a statement announcing the deal, privately-owned Sargento, said “cheese snacking” had become the “one of the fastest-growing sections of the cheese category and shows no sign of slowing”.

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According to research published in November, GlobalData said the value of the US cheese category was US$23.9bn in 2020.

The UK-based data and analytics group is forecasting the category will hit US$30.2bn by 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate of 4.8% between 2020 and 2025.

High consumption of fast-food products, such as pasta, pizza, and burger, in different quick-service restaurants (QSRs), is one of the key factors driving growth of the U.S cheese market.

In volume terms, the category sold 1,882.6 million kg in 2020. GlobalData expects volumes in 2025 to be 1,925.2 million kg, translating as a CAGR of 0.4% during the period.

The researcher said the Sargento cheese brand accounted for 7.1% of value sales in 2020, behind only the Kraft brand.

US cheese major Sargento Foods is betting on the Baker Cheese Factory acquisition to meet this rising demand for more cheese products in the United States.

“This is a great opportunity and will allow us to continue our industry-leading growth in the marketplace,” Louie Gentine, Sargento’s CEO, said, without specifying the company’s recent growth rate. The business does disclose annual net sales of US$1.5bn.

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