Milk giant Dean Foods is shutting one of its major Illinois facilities this year, with ‘decreased dairy consumption trends’ among the reasons given for the decision.
The company is best known for manufacturing, marketing, and distributing dairy-based products including milk, cheese, cream, ice-cream, and yogurt.
The closure is one of a number predicted for 2018 as consumer tastes change.
Dean Foods plans to close a number of facilities this year, according to its 2017 annual investors report, which put the closures down to ‘decreased dairy consumption trends and a highly competitive industry’.
The report added: “The challenges faced in 2017 served as a catalyst to drive a sense of urgency around programmatic and structural changes in the second half of the year and into 2018.”
Other reports have also speculated that the decision could be linked to Walmart building its own milk production plant in Indiana.
The company appears to be diversifying its portfolio by investing in plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk. Last year, it acquired a minority stake in plant-based brand Good Karma, which mainly makes drinks and yogurt products from flax.
Recently, it took a majority stake, with Ralph Scozzafava, CEO of Dean Foods, saying: “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.
“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. As majority owners, we look forward to working with Doug and his team to continue their strong momentum and support their growth agenda.”