Ont. co-op buys Alberta Cheese

Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. has an agreement to acquire the shares of Alberta Cheese Company Ltd.

Located in south east Calgary, Alberta Cheese was founded by master cheesemaker Frank Talarico in 1976 and has remained in the Talarico family for 40 years.

The business specializes in the manufacturing of traditional Italian cheeses under the Franco’s and Sorrento brands, as well as the importation and distribution of cheese and other food products from around the world.

The successful integration of Alberta Cheese into Gay Lea Foods will add the Franco’s and Sorrento brand cheeses to Gay Lea Foods’ line up, which includes Salerno, Ivanhoe and Black River brands.

The move will also further in-crease the production capacity of the co-operative, and expand relationships for Gay Lea Foods with Alberta foodservice providers and retailers.

The company intends to maintain full operations at the Alberta Cheese plant and preserve all relationships with existing Alberta Cheese customers, suppliers and employees, said a Gay Lea news release.

Alberta Cheese has 28 employees. Its Franco’s brand includes traditional Bocconcini, Burrata, Cheddar, Feta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Provolone, Ricotta and Monterey Jack style cheeses, as well as a number of specialty varieties.

Headquartered in Mississauga, Ont., Gay Lea Foods is the largest dairy co-operative in Ontario, with 4,000 members on more than 1,300 dairy farms. It has more than 950 employees.

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