Dean Foods Eyeing Up Alternatives

Dean Foods is the largest dairy company in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, the company has 66 manufacturing facilities in 32 U.S. states. ( Company image )

(Bloomberg) -- The plant-based milk craze is even sweeping up the biggest U.S. dairy producer.

Dean Foods Co.’s Chief Executive Officer Ralph Scozzafava said the company is debating whether to become a majority shareholder in Good Karma Foods, which makes milk and yogurt from flaxseed. The dairy company first announced a minority stake in Boulder, Colorado-based Good Karma in May 2017, without sharing the dollar value.

“It’s a really, really cool brand, and it’s growing -- it grew pretty dramatically last year,” Scozzafava said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “Over the next few months, we’ll make that decision” about whether to increase the stake, he said.

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Dean’s investment in Good Karma marks a position in the businesses seeking to disrupt the dairy industry. Plant-based beverages, like almond milk, have seen demand climb in recent years, while U.S. dairy producers are grappling with a long-term decline in traditional milk demand. Dean’s shares have slumped about 52 percent in the past 12 months, and the company announced a cost-cutting plan in a turnaround bid earlier this year.

Other food companies are also expanding outside traditional businesses. Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. meat producer, has invested in several start-ups producing plant-based burgers and lab-grown meat.

Good Karma couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

 

Copyright 2018, Bloomberg

 

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