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The Effects Of The Dean Foods Bankruptcy On Utah


Dairy producer Dean Foods has filed for bankruptcy protection. In Utah, St. George Ice Cream is a division of Dean Foods and is the manufacturer of branded and private label ice cream products.

As one of the largest dairy producers in the United States, Dean Foods is over many popular brands that have more than likely made it to your kitchen table at one point. TruMoo, Friendly’s, Land-O-Lakes and Dairy Pure are just a few brands that will bear the effect of this bankruptcy.

Kristi Spence, the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Dairy West says farmers will not see an immediate difference. As long as processing capacity stays the same, consumers do not need to worry that milk prices are going to go up.

“The dairy industry remains strong," Spence said. "We see that overall dairy consumption continues to grow and when we think of dairy consumption it’s not just fluid milk consumption, its dairy in all of its forms. So cheese or yogurt or cottege cheese or sour cream, butter - all of those components relate to the overall dairy category and that remains strong.”

Here in Utah, farmers whose milk goes to Dean Foods’ plants all go through their cooperatives first.  Cooperatives are farmer-owned organizations, such as Dairy Farmers of America, that are the middle point between the farmer and the distributer.

“The benefit of a system like that is that a farmer isn’t scrambling to find a home for their milk on a daily basis. They know their milk is going to be collected and that it has an end home to go to,” Spence said. 

Dairy Farmers of America is currently considering buying Dean Foods.