Scottish vegan cheesemaker sold to dairy giant in multi-million pound deal – Totally Vegan Buzz

Scottish vegan cheesemaker sold to dairy giant in multi-million pound deal

Scottish vegan cheesemaker sold to dairy giant in multi-million pound deal
Image: sheeseuk/Instagram

“There’s huge demand out there for high-quality, authentic products like Sheese, which is shown by the number of brands asking Bute Island Foods to make own-label products.”

A Scottish vegan cheese brand has been bought by a Canadian dairy group in a multi-million pound deal.

Saputo – whose labels include Cathedral City, Country Life, and Utterly Butterly – bought Bute Island Foods, which makes vegan cheese alternative Sheese, and another Wisconsin-based factory specialising in whey protein products for a total of £109m.

The deal comes at a time of rising popularity for vegan and plant-based foods around the world.

According to research firm Kantar, the plant-based dairy market is now worth nearly £600m after witnessing staggering growth over the past five years.

‘Huge demand’

Bute Island Foods was advised by legal heavyweight Dentons – making it the first major transaction in the vegan market for the law firm.

Lorna McCaa, a tax partner in Dentons’ Glasgow office said: “We expect to see much more activity in the plant-based and vegan sector in the months ahead.

“There’s huge demand out there for high-quality, authentic products like Sheese, which is shown by the number of brands asking Bute Island Foods to make own-label products.

“It’s fantastic for a Scottish company with the heritage and provenance of Bute Island Foods to attract the attention of an international player like Saputo.”

‘Wider audience’

A Bute Island Foods spokesperson added: “Becoming part of Saputo will help us to bring Sheese and our other products to a much wider audience.

“As we approach our 35th anniversary, we’re excited to be taking this next step on our journey and we thank Dentons for helping us spread our wings.”

Sheese vegan cheese

Bute Island Foods, founded in 1988,  first developed its first “cheddar style soya-based cheese alternative” at a farmhouse in Rothesay using hydrogenated vegetable oil, soybean concentrate, carrageenan and locust bean gum.

Over the years, the Scottish vegan cheese brand has expanded its product portfolio to introduce items such as spreadable Sheese, dairy-free goats cheese and a new melting range.

In 2018, the company reformulated its Sheese blocks, sliced and grated ranges to make it completely soya-free.

Sheese received The Vegan Society’s trademark in 2020, making it one of the 15,206 labels that received the certification last year up from 14,262 in 2019.

The brand’s products are sold online through independent retailers as well available at several major UK retailers, including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose, and Lidl.

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