Earlier this week, Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Sales dropped 7 percent in the first half of the year, profits fell 14 percent, and stock in Dean Foods lost 80 percent of its value.
The nation’s oldest milk producer says its struggles stem from the fact that Americans aren’t drinking as much fluid milk from cows as they once were.
At the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) meeting in Kansas City, CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council and former agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack says 94 percent of U.S. households have milk in their refrigerators.
“Which suggests a continuation of a healthy $100 billion industry,” said Vilsack. “You’re seeing higher levels of consumption of certain kinds of fluid milk, whole milk, flavored milk—perhaps a decline in 1 or 2 percent in low fat.”
Vilsack also noted that the National Milk Producers Federation is making strides to improve milk at school, and remains adamant that milk consumption has been on the rise.
“For the first time in a while, domestic consumption is actually equaled the production increases, which is good news,” he said. “The issue has been it hasn’t kept pace with the increase in production. We’ve been able to produce more than we’ve domestically consumed, which is why export markets became important.”