Silk was founded by Steve Demos in Boulder, Colorado in 1978. The first product was introduced in March 1996 by WhiteWave, Inc. at the Natural Foods Expo in Anaheim, California. In the years that followed, Silk became a successful, world-wide, organic brand.
In 2002 WhiteWave, Inc (parent of Silk Soymilk) was sold to Dean Foods for just under $300 million. The company's sales grew to $350 million in annual revenues by 2005. As the business grew, Silk became the largest purchaser of organic, Non GMO soybeans in the North America. According to Silk's web site in August 2009, all its soy beans are sourced from North America including organic and non-GMO soybeans. In January 2010, the company introduced Silk Pure Almond, an almond milk, and its first non-soy-based product.
In 2013, WhiteWave Foods separated from Dean Foods, and became an independent, publicly traded company.
Silk has been a five year recipient of the Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.[clarification needed] Silk has been a supporter of Farm Aid since 2002. Silk is a member of the Soyfoods Association of North America, (SANA) which provides information about the health benefits and nutritional advantages of soy consumption.
In 2009 the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) called for a boycott of Silk brand products. The OCA reported that a portion of the soy beans used in Silk are sourced from countries with unacceptable labor and certification standards including Brazil and China. The OCA has called for boycotts of Horizon Organic brand milk, as well as other subsidiaries of Silk's former distributor Dean Foods. In the fall of 2009 the Pioneer Press reported that the Cornucopia Institute had made complaints to the U.S. Department of Agriculture accusing Silk producer Dean Foods and its WhiteWave Foods division, of shifting their products away from organics without properly notifying retailers or consumers. According to the Star Telegram and other news sources, Silk brand soy milk was made using organic soybeans until early 2009 when Dean Foods switched to conventional soybeans while maintaining the same UPC barcodes and prices on the Silk products while replacing the word “organic” with “natural” on the Silk product packaging.
Silk maintains that it sources only domestic/U.S. soy beans. The brand has also enrolled all of its products in the Non-GMO Project's verification process.