FRENCH GROUP BUYS KRAFT CHEESE DIVISION, INCLUDING TULARE PLANT
French dairy company Lactalis Group has entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition by its U.S. affiliate of Kraft Heinz’s Natural, Grated, Cultured and Specialty cheese businesses in the U.S. With this acquisition, Lactalis will acquire a portfolio of iconic, strongly-positioned brands that include Cracker Barrel, Breakstone’s, Knudsen, Polly-O, Athenos, Hoffman’s and — outside the U.S. and Canada only — Cheez Whiz.
In addition, Kraft Heinz will partner with Lactalis on a perpetual license for Kraft in Natural, Grated and International cheeses and Velveeta in Natural and International cheeses. Under the terms of the transaction, Lactalis will acquire three Kraft Heinz production facilities located in Tulare; Walton, New York and Wausau, Wisconsin, and a distribution center in Weyauwega, Wisconsin.
Approximately 750 Kraft Heinz employees will be joining Lactalis. The company expects to add additional American jobs to support this business following the closing of the transaction, which is expected in the first half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals. Kraft Tulare’s plant was originally a Louis Rich turkey plant in the 1990s but closed and later was converted by the parent company to make cheese — mostly mozzarella and Parmesan.