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New owners for G&G Specialty Foods

  • Arturo Gallardo, left, adds fresh tomatoes to a chopper while making the Sonoma Salsa produced by G&G Specialty Foods in this 2002 file photo. (JOHN BURGESS/Press Democrat)

A large Canadian cheese company is buying G&G Specialty Foods in Santa Rosa as part of a $270 million deal for a group of U.S. cheese brands.

The buyer, Montreal-based Saputo Inc., said Monday it can’t talk about its plans for the 20-year-old Santa Rosa food maker because the deal hasn’t closed yet.

“We are not commenting on the acquisition until it is finalized,” said Sandy Vassiadis, spokeswoman for Saputo. The purchase is expected to close later this month.

G&G makes cheese spreads, hummus dips, salsa, yogurt, guacamole, tapenade and bruschetta under the Goldy’s, Meza and Meza Sonoma Salsa brands. They are distributed across the U.S. to grocery stores, club stores, specialty retailers and restaurants.

It also makes refrigerated food items for private labels including Trader Joe’s.

G&G is part of DCI Cheese Company, a Wisconsin company that markets domestic and imported cheeses and prepared foods under a variety of brands. It acquired the Santa Rosa business in 2006 for an undisclosed price.

G&G Specialty Foods is not connected to G&G Supermarkets in Santa Rosa and Petaluma.

The Santa Rosa food maker has a 55,000-square-foot production facility on Bellevue Avenue in southwest Santa Rosa and about 150 employees.

G&G was founded in San Francisco in 1991 by Chris Glab and Rick Goldberg. It moved to Santa Rosa in 2000.

The family-owned business originally made bagel and cream cheese sandwiches, but grew over the years to produce spreads, dips, hummus and salsas.

G&G had about $30 million in sales when it was acquired by DCI Cheese in 2006.

DCI, which has other facilities in Wisconsin and New Jersey, reported $460 million in sales last year. It has about 475 employees companywide.

“We look forward to working with Saputo to continue building on the legacy of our industry-recognized success,” said Michael Mulhern, CEO of DCI’s parent company, Fairmount Cheese Holdings.

With $5.8 billion in global sales last year, Saputo is the largest dairy processor in Canada and one of the top three cheese producers in the U.S. Its U.S. brands include Stella, Treasure Cave, Frigo, Lugano, Gardenia and Dragone. It has California processing plants in the Central Valley communities of Newman and Tulare.

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