Emmi Roth, in partnership with Emmi Group of Switzerland, has acquired feta-cheese specialist Athenos from the France-based Lactalis Group. Emmi Roth said that beyond growing the company's business and expanding its product offerings, the acquisition strengthens its long-standing dedication to the specialty cheese industry.
"We take pride in providing the best specialty cheeses to our customers and consumers," said Tim Omer, president and managing director for Emmi Roth, in a statement. "Adding Athenos to our family will strengthen our product range and allow us to offer another great line of products."
As the top-selling feta brand in the U.S., Athenos generated net sales of almost $90 million in 2020. Volume sales in the feta category are up 22% versus year ago, according to IRI data.
Athenos will benefit from Emmi Roth's strong retail and foodservice connections as well as its marketing expertise to reach new consumers through digital marketing and social media—an area in which the Athenos business has great opportunity for even further growth, the company said.
Kraft Heinz agreed to sell the Athenos business to a U.S. affiliate of Lactalis Group in the fall of 2020 as part of a natural-cheese transaction previously announced by Kraft Heinz and the Lactalis Group. To meet conditions imposed during antitrust review, the Lactalis Group agreed to sell the Athenos business to Emmi. The transaction remains subject to approval by the U.S. competition authorities.
“With the addition of this business, we are investing in our company’s long-term future, our business, people and resources,” added Omer.
Emmi Roth, of Fitchburg, Wis., has operations at three locations across Wisconsin producing a range of Roth cheeses, including Grand Cru Original, Reserve and Surchoix; Garlic & Herb Chèvre; Original Havarti; Fontina; Butterkäse; Van Gogh Gouda; Sriracha Gouda; Green Goddess Gouda; Flavor Ups Blue Cheese Crumbles; Buttermilk Blue; Smoked Moody Blue; GranQueso; Roth’s Private Reserve and more.
As a subsidiary of Emmi Group in Switzerland, Emmi Roth also imports Swiss-made cheeses into the U.S. Among these are Le Gruyère AOP; Emmentaler AOP; Tête de Moine AOP; Kaltbach Le Gruyère AOP; Kaltbach Emmentaler AOP; Kaltbach Le Crémeux; Kaltbach Gouda; Appenzeller; and Raclette.
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