DFA Makes Entree to Ethnic Cheese Market

November 1, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With the acquisition of a highly respected Hispanic cheese brand, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) is entering the rapidly growing and diverse ethnic dairy product category. Effective October 29, 2010, DFA has acquired Houston-based Castro Cheese Company, Inc.

Castro Cheese owns "La Vaquita," a brand product line that includes Queso Fresco, Panela, Queso Quesadilla and other artisanal cheeses commonly used in Hispanic dishes. La Vaquita is a strong national brand in the Hispanic cheese market with a wide variety of customer channels.

“DFA is well positioned to support the continued growth and profitability of Castro Cheese and its La Vaquita branded products,” said John Stephens, chief operating officer for the Consumer Brands Division of DFA’s Global Dairy Products Group (GDPG). “La Vaquita is an established national brand with a reputation for quality that complements DFA’s dairy farmer ownership, and the farm-based heritage of many of its cheese and butter brands.”

The acquisition aligns with DFA’s overall growth strategy of expanding its commercial businesses and brands portfolio for GDPG. Castro Cheese will become a wholly owned subsidiary of DFA and will operate as a separate business unit within the GDPG Consumer Brands Division.

DFA will retain the company’s current 72 employees, who will continue to be led by Alberto Bandera, the current operating executive.

“Our new relationship with DFA is an exciting new chapter in our history,” said Alberto Bandera, operating officer for Castro Cheese. “For nearly four decades, our focus on quality has earned a strong following, and we’re looking forward to developing our La Vaquita brand with a farmer-owned cooperative that shares our commitment to superior dairy products.”

The authentic Latin flavor offered by the La Vaquita product line makes it the second largest Hispanic cheese brand in the nation, available at popular retailers such as H.E.B., Walmart, Fiesta Mart, Kroger and Costco.