Sargento Foods said it signed a definitive agreement to acquire St. Cloud, Wis.-based string cheese producer Baker Cheese Factory Inc.

As consumers seek more “on-the-go” options, cheese snacking has become the one of the fastest growing sections of the cheese category and shows no sign of slowing, Plymouth, Wis.-based Sargento Foods said. The acquisition will enable Sargento Foods to better serve consumers by adding to the wide variety of sliced, shredded and snack natural cheese products already offered by the company.

“Throughout our history, we have always looked for new ways to build long-term stakeholder value,” said Louie Gentine, CEO of 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,” he added. “We take pride in our track record of successful innovation and look forward to unlocking new pathways for our portfolio, processes and employees.”

Founded in 1916, Baker Cheese is known for its high-quality mozzarella string cheese, which is sold in all 50 states. Its cheese production has grown aggressively during the past 20 years, and Baker Cheese is one of the top string cheese companies in the United States, Sargento Foods noted.

“We believe Sargento has the right culture, capabilities and commitment to innovation to grow our business for generations to come,” said Brian Baker, 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.”

Sargento Foods said it has grown since 1953 to be a leader in cheese through its focus on innovation and the strength of its culture. As privately held companies, Sargento Foods and Baker Cheese did not disclose any financial details of the sale. Baker Cheese employs 250 people in St. Cloud, while Sargento Foods has more than 2,000 employees at its four Wisconsin locations, as well as a remote sales team across the United States. This acquisition will not displace any employees.