Largest milk processor in United States files for bankruptcy

Biggest US milk company files for bankruptcy after decades-long drop in consumption

Rabobank said in a statement to DairyReporter that it "is proud of its role in organizing a debt financing package for Dean Foods that provides the company with enough liquidity to continue operations".

"Despite our best efforts to make our business more agile and cost-efficient, we continue to be impacted by a challenging operating environment marked by continuing declines in consumer milk consumption", CEO Eric Berigause said in a statement.

Dean Foods owns a number of recognizable brands, including Dairy Pure.

Dean Foods, America's biggest milk producer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday.

Dean Foods said in a statement that it is working with the Dairy Farmers of America cooperative on a potential deal, in which the cooperative would buy nearly all of the company.

Since about 1975, the amount of milk consumed per capita in America has dropped by about 40 percent, noted The Associated Press.

That there are so many beverage choices now doesn't help either-bottled waters (flavored or plain, with bubbles or without), juices (cold-pressed or traditional), teas (regular, green, black, red), sodas (old-school, craft, diet).

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I want to thank all Dean Foods employees for their continued commitment to our customers, our partners and our company.

More recently, health and animal-welfare concerns have also contributed, as more shoppers seek out non-dairy alternatives.

Milk consumption has declined over the past four years, CNN reported.

The decline can be blamed on everything from dairy prices to more productive cows and, of course, millennials. Dean's sales of $7.8 billion past year were down 38% from a decade earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Dallas-based 94-year old dairy processor - responsible for some of U.S. grocery store's most recognizable brands including Dairy Pure, Organic Valley and Land O'Lakes - has seen a drastic 14 percent drop in profits so far this year, CNN reported. In March 2018, citing low sales, Dean Foods ended contracts with 100 independent farmers in eight states following the announcement that Walmart, Dean Foods' biggest customer, planned to build its own dairy processor to produce private label milk for the chain.

Dean employs 16,000 people and operates 60 processing facilities across the country. The company has produced milk and other products at its downtown Boise plant, at 1301 W. Bannock St., since 1950, according to records from the Ada County Assessors Office.

"That means products from the Dean Foods family of brands, including Meadow Gold, will continue to be available across Idaho", she said. In 2000, Southern Foods was acquired by Suiza Foods Corp., which bought Dean Foods a year later.

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