America's biggest milk producer files for bankruptcy

Mar 2012
New Hampshire
Not as many drinking milk anymore, 26% decline.

Dean Foods on Tuesday announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Dallas-based milk processor said that it plans to use the Chapter 11 proceedings to keep running the business, and address debt and unfunded debt obligations as it seeks to sell the company. Dean Foods has secured commitments for $850 million in debtor-in-possession financing, a type of funding for companies in financial distress.

Customers are expected to receive their dairy products without any interruptions.

Dean Foods also said that it is engaged in “advanced discussions” with Dairy Farmers of America about selling “substantially” all of its assets. Even if both parties agree to the sale, the transaction would be subject to receiving higher or better offers while the company is in bankruptcy.

Dean Foods’ business has struggled as more consumers turn to nondairy milk or buy private label products. Americans’ per capita consumption of fluid milk has fallen 26% in the last two decades, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Walmart began processing its own milk in 2017. Walmart’s decision sparked upheaval, leading Dean Foods to cancel more than 100 milk contracts with dairy farmers across eight states.

Mar 2019
If the trend is two decades old, then this is classic bad management. They should have been taking steps all along to "right-size" their business for the current market. I guess despite their MBA they couldn't read the writing on the wall. Adapt or die.

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
I'm lactose intolerant. But I like some half-n-half once in a while. (Just in my coffee, of course ... I don't drink a glass.)
May 2019
Backatown, USA
Has anyone here looked at a supermarket dairy case lately?
There's hemp milk, soy milk, almond milk, kefir, goat's milk, buttermilk, coconut milk. Very little cow's milk. The weed dispensaries sell cannabis milk.

I'm guessing maybe some of the old school producers haven't kept up with changing trends.

When I was a kid, back in the Stone Age, the big exciting choice was milk or chocolate milk. Delivered in glass bottles to the house by a smiling milkman.