Ont. dairy co-op buys Hamilton cheesemaker

Hamilton’s family-owned Salerno Dairy, a specialty Italian-style cheesemaker, is becoming part of Ontario’s largest dairy co-operative.

Gay Lea Foods announced Monday it has reached a deal, effective Feb. 1, to buy Salerno for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 1962 by cheesemaker Carmine Marzaro and his family, Salerno today makes hard, soft, semi-soft and shredded cheese and cheese blends under the brands Salerno and Gos + Gris, supplying restaurants, foodservice, retail and wholesale customers. It also imports cheeses from Italy and supplies imported Italian food products for wholesalers.

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Salerno’s facilities include its main plant at Hamilton; the Gos + Gris plant making montasio, pecorino, casatella, parmesan and goat’s-milk cheeses at Hannon, just southeast of Hamilton; and a warehouse and distribution centre in Montreal, altogether employing about 185 people.

“This acquisition will allow Gay Lea to establish relationships with new customers and to build on existing partnerships with new offerings and opportunities,” Gay Lea CEO Andrew MacGillivray said in the co-operative’s release.

“We believe Gay Lea Foods will do an excellent job of carrying forward our heritage of quality and our dedication to fine cheese,” Salerno CEO Angelo Fidanza said in the same release.

Salerno recently introduced its Pizza Mate and Pizza Pro products, to be used as pizza garnish in combination with mozzarella and/or other cheeses. The two products are a combination of skim milk, soya oil and modified milk ingredients, “manufactured at a fraction of the cost of full-dairy mozzarella cheese.”

It also recently introduced akawie, a soft white brine cheese, and paneer cheese, a white cheese for use in Indian dishes and in lacto-vegetarian diets. — AGCanada.com Network

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