U.S. dairy processor Franklin Foods Holdings, a leading cream cheese maker, has been sold to Hochland SE, a privately held cheese company based in Bavaria, Germany. Terms were not disclosed.
Also in January, the Emmi AG of Switzerland boosted its presence in the goat’s milk cheese and yogurt industries by buying Meyenberg Goat Milk Products, Turlock, Calif. Terms of this transaction also were not disclosed.
Jon Gutknecht, a partner and the president and CEO of Franklin Foods, based in Delray Beach, Fla., will continue to lead Franklin and maintain an interest in the new venture.
Franklin Foods operates manufacturing facilities in Casa Grande, Ariz., Enosburg Falls, Vt. The company is a Safe Quality Foods Level 3 Certified cream cheese manufacturer. Dairy Foods visited Franklin Foods and toured its Arizona facility for a series of articles. Read them in the June 2015 issue.
Franklin Foods reported to Dairy Foods that its 2015 sales were $125 million. That put it just outside of the Dairy 100, this magazine’s annual ranking of the biggest dairy processors in North America.
Hochland SE is a family-owned business based in Heimenkirch in the Allgäu. It has 10 production sites and a workforce of more than 4,200. In 2016, Hochland generated a turnover of roughly 1.2 billion Euro ($1.3 billion).
Rocco Cardinale of Franklin Foods said that Franklin executives met members of the Hochland team at a tradeshow. Selling the company was not anticipated at the time.
“We began exploring ways to work together in a supplier/ customer capacity. We soon realized that both companies were really aligned and our strengths complemented each other, and the existing Franklin platform is an ideal fit for Hochland’s growth strategy, and Hochland would be the ideal strategic partner to continue Franklin’s growth,” Cardinale told Dairy Foods via e-mail.
Emmi buys Meyenberg
Emmi AG is a dairy cooperative based in Switzerland with a cheesemaking operation based in Fitchburg, Wis. Sister companies in California include Arcata-based Cypress Grove, a maker of goat’s milk cheeses, and Sebastopol-based Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, which makes cheese, yogurt and kefir from goat’s milk. Emmi also owns artisan cheesemaker Cowgirl Creamery of Petaluma.
CEO Robert Jackson announced the sale in January. According to a company statement, Meyenberg is the U.S. market leader and only nationally distributed fluid goat milk brand. Its farms and facilities process 25 million pounds of milk annually.