Sargento to acquire string cheese maker

PLYMOUTH, WIS. — Sargento Foods announced it has agreed to acquire St. Cloud, Wis.-based Baker Cheese Factory, Inc., a string cheese producer in the United States. Financial terms of the agreement signed between the two privately held companies were not disclosed.

Established in 1916, St. Cloud-based Baker Cheese’s mozzarella string cheese is marketed in the upper Midwest with the Baker Cheese label, but also is sold around the world under a variety of private labels.

Sargento, which has more than 2,000 employees at its four Wisconsin locations, said the acquisition will not displace any of Baker Cheese’s 250 employees.

In announcing the acquisition of the fourth-generation, family-owned cheese manufacturer, Sargento referenced that Baker Cheese shared its values and “passion” for cheese.

“Throughout our history we have always looked for new ways to build long-term stakeholder value,” said Louie Gentine, third generation chief executive officer for Sargento Foods. “We’re excited to welcome Baker Cheese and its employees to the Sargento family. This is a great opportunity, and will allow us to continue our industry-leading growth in the marketplace. We take pride in our track record of successful innovation and look forward to unlocking new pathways for our portfolio, processes and employees.”

Baker Cheese’s string cheese is sold in all 50 states, and Sargento pointed to Baker’s notable growth in the past two decades making it a valuable addition to the sliced, shredded and snack natural cheeses in Sargento’s portfolio.

“We believe Sargento has the right culture, capabilities and commitment to innovation to grow our business for generations to come,” said Brian Baker, fourth generation CEO of Baker Cheese. “Our award-winning string cheese and commitment to service and quality aligns with everything Sargento seeks to accomplish.  We welcome this important step toward our future.” 

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