Land O’Lakes Inc. is buying Vermont Creamery, considered one of the pioneers of the artisan cheese-making movement in the U.S.
Officials from both companies said the purchase was one of mutual interest: Vermont Creamery’s desire to expand production and markets, and Land O’Lakes’ attraction to the quality of the creamery’s fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter and other dairy products.
“As we experience unprecedented growth, we need a partner who can bring the resources and expertise necessary to help us realize our vision and the potential of our business,” said Creamery co-founder Allison Hooper in a statement.
Financial details of the sale were not disclosed.
Vermont Creamery was founded in 1984, when goat cheese was not as familiar and available to many Americans.
That has changed in recent years, and specialty cheeses have bumped up in popularity because of stronger consumer interest in healthier, locally produced foods without artificial growth hormones.
Vermont Creamery has expanded over the years to employ 75 people and support more than 20 farms near its manufacturing plant in Websterville, Vt. Company officials said they promote sustainable agriculture and have won more than 100 national and international awards for their line of cheeses and other dairy products.
“We love their brand and would like to help bring it to even more people,” said Chris Policinski, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes.
Under the terms of the transaction announced Wednesday, Vermont Creamery will become an independently operated subsidiary of the Arden Hills-based cooperative. Dairy foods is one of Land O’Lakes’ three primary businesses, which also include Purina Animal Nutrition and WinField United crop products and consulting.
The deal also specifies that the Creamery’s leadership team and all of its employees will remain with the business, officials said. The Hooper family will retain ownership of the farm. Ayers Brook Goat Dairy — a demonstration goat farm founded by the company — is not included in the transaction.