Dean Foods Company has taken on the majority ownership of a plant-based food and beverage company that markets flaxseed milk.
Good Karma Foods and Dean Foods made the announcement on July 2 that the dairy processing company had increased its ownership percentage to a majority stake.
“Good Karma is a fast-growing brand that gets us back into the growing plant-based food and beverage category, making it an excellent addition to our portfolio,” says Ralph Scozzafava, CEO of Dean Foods. “Our investment in Good Karma is just one example of how we are executing against one of the major pillars of our strategic plan, to build and buy strong brands.”
Good Karma’s plant-based alternatives include flaxmilk and dairy free yogurt. The brands promote themselves as being free of all major allergens.
“We are thrilled about our continued partnership with the Dean Foods team,” says Doug Radi, Good Karma Foods CEO. “We believe this relationship validates that Good Karma is one of the leading and fastest-growing brands to watch in the plant-based category, and we are excited about how this partnership will advance our mission of inspiring goodness by making our plant-based, non-dairy beverages and yogurts more accessible across the U.S.”
Dean Foods had previously been a minority shareholder since May 2017 and had expressed interest in buying a majority stake earlier this year. Good Karma will continue to operate from Boulder, Colo. as an independent company with the established leadership team.
Scozzafava adds, “As majority owners, we look forward to working with Doug and his team to continue their strong momentum and support their growth agenda.”
This isn’t the first time Dean Foods has entered the plant-based market for dairy alternatives. Dean Foods was formerly the owner of WhiteWave, an organic and plant-based food company that was put up for public offering and separated from the company in 2013. WhiteWave was eventually purchased by French dairy company Danone for approximately $10 billion in 2016 and includes such brands as Silk almond and soy milk.
The move by Dean Foods to get back into the plant-based dairy market follows several months of milk processing facility closings by the company. The plant closings have had a widespread impact across the dairy industry with farmers in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio and other states being affected.
In a recent earnings report, Scozzafava told analysts “we consider 2018 an important year of transition and transformation as we take aggressive yet appropriate action to drive our strategy and reset our cost structure at the same time.”