Land O'Lakes acquires feta cheese brand Philia Foods

Dairy Foods employing innovation-through-acquisition approach with attractive start-up brand

Phillia Foods Feta Cheese Varieties

Land O’Lakes, Inc. has acquired substantially all of the assets of Philia Foods, a Minnesota-based business that sells four flavors of spreadable feta cheese in retail locations across the Twin Cities Metro and in various markets on the East and West Coasts.

The acquisition of Philia Foods, which will be fully integrated into Land O’Lakes, supports our dairy innovation strategy and provides us with an opportunity to deepen our innovation pipeline through smaller-brand incubation. This innovation-through-acquisition approach allows us to save time and resources that would normally be spent on market research and R&D, and instead focus on exploring opportunities to further develop an existing brand.

“We think of this as an acquisition of time – time that would have been spent developing, testing and marketing a product in the highly attractive snacking and specialty dairy category,” says Raquel Melo, vice president of Innovation and New Business Development (INBD). “Philia Foods® products are in some settings where even Land O’Lakes has yet to gain a foothold. In return, we have a lot of expertise to offer.”

Philia Foods is attractive for many reasons, including the fact that it’s a specialty dairy product that already has a strong customer base in select markets. While the initial focus is to fully integrate the business into Land O’Lakes, moving forward Land O’Lakes will work to accelerate the business growth by providing our expertise in distribution, procurement, marketing and quality co-manufacturing support.

About Philia Foods

After serving a spreadable pepper and feta appetizer at a Mother’s Day party in 2009 that people “went nuts over,” Mike Rakes couldn’t attend a family event alone – he had to bring along the feta spread.

Like a good viral video, word spread from family member to family member, and eventually friends got a taste, too, and demanded his feta spread.

Buoyed by their enthusiasm, in 2012 Mike took a run at selling his product at a farmer’s market in Minneapolis. After three sell-out sales stints, Mike had a rabid customer base who traveled to his home to purchase the product from his front door.

Just a few years later, four flavors of spreadable feta cheese, sold under the Philia Foods® brand, are available in retail locations across the Minnesota’s Twin Cities and sprinkled throughout the East and West Coasts.

Mike will stay closely involved with Philia Foods, serving as Land O’Lakes marketing manager overseeing the Philia Foods® brand.