Queen honours Bute’s vegan ‘cheese’

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Bute Island Foods, the plant-based, dairy-alternative cheese maker based on the Isle of Bute, was presented with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success – by Jane MacLeod, HM Lord-Lieutenant for Argyll and Bute, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.

Jane MacLeod said: ‘The company produces excellent vegan food and importantly employs very many people on the island of Bute. At a time when we are acutely aware of the depopulation of Argyll and Bute, it is a great honour to present a company, who employs and trains so many people, with a prestigious Queen’s Award.’

The award for International Trade 2021 recognises Bute Island Foods’ success in exports, especially since 2017, with successful launches into Australia and Canada. Today, the company’s Sheese brand is available in America, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania.

Bute Island Foods is one of only 205 UK organisations to be recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2021. The company, which employs 180 people, has been passionate about vegan foods for more than 30 years.

Now owned by Canadian-based global dairy processor Saputo Inc, its state-of-the-art dairy-free cheesemaking facility has seen production increase by 400 per cent since 2017, in order to meet the growing demand for plant-based, dairy alternatives.

Bute Island Foods marketing director, Nigel White, said: ‘It is the ultimate business accolade and to win for our international trade success, given our small farmhouse kitchen table beginnings, is humbling. Our exceptional team here at Bute Island are passionate about good quality, dairy-alternative food. We will display our award with great pride.’

Made with coconut oil, Sheese is dairy free, gluten free and non-GMO and contains 30 per cent less fat than traditional cheese with no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavours or colours.

‘As an original dairy-free cheese in the market, Bute Island Foods has spent years perfecting the ideal functional properties consumers seek in a dairy-alternative cheese,’ the creamery said: ‘it melts when hot, crumbles like a cheese should and tastes just as good when cold. This is supported by numerous awards over the years and the famous BOSH! Boys awarding it No.1 vegan cheese in 2020.’