Parmalat to acquire Kraft Heinz cheese brands

The deal, expected to close next year, includes the sale of Cracker Barrel, P'tit Quebec and Amooza.

Cracker Barrel

The Kraft Heinz Company has agreed to sell its Canadian natural cheese business to dairy and beverage giant Parmalat SpA for $1.62 billion in a deal expected to close next year.

The agreement includes the sale of the natural cheese brands Cracker Barrel, P’tit Quebec and Amooza in the Canadian market, as well as Kraft Heinz’s production facility in Ingleside, Ont., which employs around 400 people.

Parmalat is “uniquely positioned to advance the natural cheese business given their experience and focus on the dairy industry,” said Bernardo Hees, CEO of Kraft Heinz, in a statement. At the same time, Hees said the deal will allow Kraft Heinz to focus on “the segments and categories where we have stronger brand equity, competitive advantage and greater growth prospects.”

Under the agreement, Kraft Heinz will continue to own and market its other cheese products, including Philadelphia, Cheez Whiz and Kraft Singles, which are processed in Quebec.

Parmalat’s Canadian cheese portfolio currently includes Black Diamond, Balderson and Galbani. The company said those brands will remain distinct following the acquisition’s closing.

The deal extends the North American presence of Parmalat owner Lactalis. In a separate statement, the France-based parent company added that the agreement will grow its footprint in a “strategic market for cheese with high added value.”

The agreement comes shortly after Kraft Heinz announced Nina Barton, president of global digital online growth, will be taking over from Carlos Piani as president of the Canada zone, starting next year.

Effective Jan. 1, Nina Barton will be replacing Carlos Piani as president of Kraft Heinz Canada. As part of the leadership change, Piani will move into the new role of  head of strategic initiatives and mergers and acquisitions, based out of Chicago.