Lactalis to buy Kraft's US natural cheese business, with conditions

Divestitures of Kraft Heinz’s Athenos and Polly-O businesses will preserve competition in the sales of feta and ricotta
calendar icon 12 November 2021
clock icon 1 minute read

An American unit of Groupe Lactalis received US antitrust approval to buy Kraft Heinz Co's US natural cheese business, Reuters reports. The approval was given on the condition that the companies get rid of Kraft Heinz's feta and ricotta businesses, the Justice Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

Kraft Heinz had announced in September 2020 it would sell its natural cheese business to the US unit of the French-based dairy products company for $3.2 billion. It said it would retain Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Velveeta and Cheez Whiz in the United States.

The divestiture was sought because Lactalis and Kraft Heinz are the two largest suppliers of feta and ricotta cheese to the U.S. market.

Lactalis is headquartered in Laval, France. Its subsidiary, Lactalis American Group Inc., generated natural cheese sales — primarily under the Galbani and Président brands — of more than $429 million at retail outlets in the United States in 2020.

Kraft Heinz is a Delaware corporation co-headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Chicago, Illinois. Retail sales of Kraft Heinz’s natural cheeses in the United States exceeded $2.2 billion in 2020. Kraft Heinz sells natural cheese in the United States primarily under the Kraft, Cracker Barrel, Athenos and Polly-O brand names.

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