Scottish vegan cheese producer Bute Island Foods has been acquired by Canadian company Saputo, one of the top ten dairy processors in the world, for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 1988, Bute Islands Foods makes the Sheese range of dairy-free cheeses from its base on the Isle of Bute, off the West Coast of Scotland, employing about 180 people.

Earlier this year, as part of its biggest ever marketing investment, the brand unveiled updated packaging in a bid to appeal to a broader range of consumers and offer greater shelf standout.

Saputo produces, markets and distributes a wide array of dairy products but has expanded into dairy alternatives in the UK; in a 2019 deal with Asda it launched a Vitalite dairy-free cheese line exclusive to the supermarket giant.

Lino A Saputo, CEO, Saputo Inc, comments: “We are delighted to welcome the Bute Island Foods team and the wealth of knowledge they bring to our global family. Our commitment remains to expand our footprint in the dairy alternatives space to meet the changing demands of our customers and consumers. This investment marks an important milestone that will allow us to accelerate our growth in this area globally, putting innovation at the forefront of our priorities.”

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

Following the acquisition, Saputo has pledged over CDN$5 million over five years to support local Bute Island community initiatives.