Venchiaredo makes mozzarella, ricotta and mascarpone – as well as butter. © Venchiaredo
Emmi will exit Italy’s fresh cheese market and focus its Italian business on categories like desserts and imports of Swiss cheese, after selling its remaining 24% stake in the cooperative Venchiaredo.
Venchiaredo, based in Ramuscello in northeastern Italy, produces a range of fresh cheeses – including mozzarella, mascarpone and ricotta – as well as butter. It generated sales of approximately €20 million in 2016, but only two-thirds of those were domestic sales inside Italy.
In selling the stake, Emmi said that it was ‘focusing its activities in Italy on the dessert business, cheese exports from Switzerland and its 25% stake in cheese trader Ambrosi’. Granarolo will assume responsibility for the sale of Venchiaredo’s cheese portfolio.
Emmi first invested in Venchiaredo in January 2010, acquiring a 10% stake before increasing its holding to 24% in 2012. The Venchiaredo investment was intended to give Emmi access to Italy’s growing fresh cheese market and create synergies with another of its local investments, yogurt producer Trentinalatte.
But the Swiss company sold Trentinalatte in 2014 and has now decided to follow suit with Venchiaredo by disposing of its remanning stake.
Its focus will turn to its Italian desserts business, which was boosted by the addition of Italian Fresh Foods (IFF) – a manufacturer of high-quality desserts based in the north of the country – back in January.
Speaking at the time, Emmi CEO Urs Riedener called IFF ‘an agile, innovative’ business that ‘suits Emmi extremely well and strengthens a segment that is strategically important for the company’.
Family-run IFF is best known for its Dolce Italia brand, which started out in 1992 with tiramisu before expanding to include other well-known Italian desserts including tartufo and limoncello. It generated sales of almost €20 million at the last count, 85% of which comes from markets outside Italy.
It represents a more resilient and diversified prospect for Emmi, and follows the acquisitions of Italian dessert specialists A-27 and Rachelli between 2012 and 2013.
Emmi has also invested in the goat’s milk category, amid rising consumer interest, including in the US with Meyenburg and the Netherlands with Bettinehoever.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020