Canada’s largest milk processor is purchasing a supplier of niche yogurt and feta cheese based in St. Marys, Ont.
Saputo is buying Shepherd Gourmet Dairy Inc. for $100 million. Shepherd Gourmet employs about 90 people.
Shepherd Gourmet was founded by Stewart Cardiff when he saw a niche in the processing of alternative cheeses and yogurts as immigrants demanded new products and Canadians showed they were interested in trying new dairy foods.
The company started processing sheep’s milk from his family’s Brussels area sheep farm, but eventually processed several types of milk. Cardiff left his career in agriculture banking to become a dairy entrepreneur. Processing started in a building in Tavistock, but eventually moved to a new processing plant built in St. Marys.
Canada had been importing sheep’s milk feta cheese from Greece and other Mediterranean countries, but there was no one meeting the demand on a national basis. Shepherd Gourmet stepped into the gap.
The company is still known for its feta cheese, but now, also ricotta. It is also one of the main producers of Skyr, an Icelandic-style yogurt.