Dean Foods

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Dean Foods
Founded1925; 97 years ago (1925)
FounderSamuel E. Dean Sr.
Defunct2020; 2 years ago (2020)
FateAcquired by Dairy Farmers of America
HeadquartersDallas, Texas, U.S.
Key people
Gary W. Rahlfs (CEO)[1]
ProductsMilk, dairy products, juice
RevenueDecrease US$7.329 billion (2019)[2]
Decrease US$−399.7 million (2019)[2]
Decrease US$−499.9 million (2019)[2]
Total assetsIncrease US$2.229 billion (2019)[1]
Total equityDecrease US$−181.1 million (2019)[1]
Number of employees
14,500 (2019)[1]

Dean Foods was an American food and beverage company and the largest dairy company in the United States.[3] Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the company maintained plants and distributors in the United States.[1] Dean Foods had 66 manufacturing facilities in 32 U.S. states and distributed its products across all 50.[4][5] Its 24 brands include DairyPure, TruMoo, Friendly's, Mayfield, Dean's, Meadow Gold, Tuscan, T.G.Lee and Alta Dena.[4] In November 2019, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy citing the decline in consumption of cow's milk.[6][7]

In 2020, following the bankruptcy, Dean Foods' assets were acquired by several companies, with the largest share going to Dairy Farmers of America.[8]


Dean Foods was founded by Samuel E. Dean Sr., who owned an evaporated milk processing facility in Franklin Park, Illinois, in the 1920s.[9] After purchasing other Illinois dairy plants Dean developed the enterprise "from a small regional dairy into a diversified food company".[10][11]

In December 2001, the legacy brand of Dean Foods was acquired by the Dallas-based Suiza Foods Corporation, who later adopted the Dean Foods name.[12] As part of the merger, 11 plants were divested under the name National Dairy to a group led by Dairy Farmers of America.[13] In 2005, Dean Specialty Foods was spun off from Dean Foods as Bay Valley Foods, LLC, a division of TreeHouse Foods, Inc.[14] In June 2005, TreeHouse Foods started trading on the New York Stock Exchange with a ticker of THS.[14]

In March 2005, the Cornucopia Institute filed a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) alleging that their Horizon Organic subsidiary was violating "organic livestock management" standards.[15][16]

In August 2006, Dean Foods acquired Jilbert's Dairy, a 70-year-old family business near Marquette, Michigan.[17] Dean Food's TofuTown brand was acquired by the Hain Celestial Group in June 2007. In December, Dean Foods bought the Wells Dairy milk plant in Le Mars, Iowa. They are the maker of Blue Bunny ice cream. [18] Dean Foods purchased Alpro in 2009 for an estimated US$455 million, making it a "global leader in soy beverages".[19] This resulted in a restructuring of the company that included selling off a number of subsidiaries, including Rachel's Organic.[20]

On May 12, 2008, the Cornucopia Institute filed a second complaint with the USDA again alleging that Deans Foods had violated federal organic regulations requiring access to pasture and fresh grass for their dairy cows.[21]

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 and replacing the word “organic” with “natural” on the product's packaging,[22] prompting the Cornucopia Institute to file complaints that the company had not properly notified retailers or consumers.[23][24]

Foremost Farms USA, a cooperative of over 2,000 dairy farmers in several mid-western states, sold its Wisconsin milk processing plants to Dean Foods in 2009.[25] In January 2010, the US Department of Justice and the state attorneys general's office of Wisconsin and Michigan, filed a lawsuit objecting to the purchase and alleged that it created a monopolizing provider.[26] Dean Foods announced it was contesting the complaint.[27]

In the first quarter of 2010 the company moved to the Cityplace district of Dallas, Texas.[28][29] In October 2010, Dean Foods announced it was retiring the Schepps brand for dairy products in the Dallas, Texas area in favor of their Oak Farms brand. The Schepps brand had been in the Dallas market since 1942.[29][30]

In 2011, a class action suit was brought against Deans Foods over health claims made on the packaging of Horizon Organic Milk.[31] In 2012, Dean Foods contributed $253,950 to fund opposition to California's ballot Proposition 37 which would require mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.[32][33]

Dean Foods spun off WhiteWave Foods, the maker of Horizon Organic and Silk Soymilk, as a standalone company in May 2013.[34]

In May 2015 Dean Foods announced that they would introduce a national milk brand, DairyPure, which would appear alongside regional brands, in an attempt to boost sales.[35]

In 2017, bettor and stock trader Billy Walters was convicted of insider trading in Dean shares in Federal court. Walters' source of non-public information was company director Thomas C. Davis employing a prepaid cell phone nicknamed "the Batphone" and, sometimes, the code words "Dallas Cowboys" for the company name. The case involved profits or avoided losses of $40 million from 2008 to 2014. The verdict was to be appealed according to Walters' lawyer.[36]

Southern Foods Group, LLC d/b/a Dean Foods, and forty-two (42) affiliated companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas on November 12, 2019. The company cited their debt and pension obligations as the reason for their bankruptcy filing; they also suggested that they were working with potential buyers for the company's assets.[37][38][39][40] A cited reason for the bankruptcy was changing demand for milk and milk-related products.,[41][42] a potential sale to the cooperative Dairy Farmers of America was mentioned.[6]

On May 1, 2020, Dean Foods was acquired by the Dairy Farmers of America for $425 million.[8][43]


Oak Farms offices, East Downtown, Houston
Oak Farms factory, East Downtown, Houston

Dean Foods products include milk, ice cream, dairy products, cheese, juice, and teas.[44][45] It processes milk in the United States under a number of regional and national brands.[4]

National brands[edit]




  • Killer Shake – a subsidiary of Killer Productions Company (now defunct) is a former brand of chocolate milk with a dessert-like style. Dean Foods manufactured and sold this product under a license arrangement for the period January 1, 1996, through September 30, 1996.[46]
  • Uncle Matt's Organic[45][47]

Regional brands[edit]




Berkeley Farms logo
  • Barber's, Alabama, parts of Mississippi, Georgia and Florida
  • Berkeley Farms, Northern California and Northern Nevada: 1910–2020
  • Broughton Foods Company, Southeast Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, Western Virginia and West Virginia. Broughton Foods Company, or Broughton's Dairy or simply Broughton's, was a regional dairy and food company based out of Marietta, Ohio, that served the states of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.[49] The company also operated a sub-plant in Charleston, West Virginia. Broughton Foods Company was formerly owned by Suiza Foods Company.[49]
  • Land O'Lakes milk (licensed brand), Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin
  • Liberty Dairy, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Louis Trauth Dairy, Kentucky and Ohio
  • McArthur Dairy, South Florida
  • Meadow Brook, Pennsylvania and New York
  • Meadow Gold Dairy, Hawaii and Nebraska
  • Melody Farms, Detroit, which itself had previously acquired R.W. Wilson & Sons, Detroit, Michigan[50]
  • Model Dairy, Northern Nevada
  • H. Myer Dairy Company, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Swiss Dairy, California

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Dean Foods". Fortune. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  2. ^ a b c "Dean Foods Financial Statements 2005-2020 | DFODQ". Archived from the original on 2020-06-08. Retrieved 2020-08-16.
  3. ^ "'Healthy Milk Boom' Prompts Dean to Raise DairyPure Prices". Farm Journal. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Form 10-K" (PDF). 2016. p. 4. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  5. ^ Martin, Clarence (15 July 2017). "Credit Suisse Maintains Rating and Lowers Price Target on Dean Foods Company". Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Friendly's ice cream parent owner files for bankruptcy". WCVB. 2019-11-13. Retrieved 2019-11-13. '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,' said Eric Beringause, who recently joined Dean Foods as president and chief executive officer.
  7. ^ Jordan Valinsky. "America's largest milk producer files for bankruptcy". CNN. Retrieved 2019-12-28.
  8. ^ a b "Dean Foods Completes Sale of Assets to Dairy Farmers of America". 2020-05-02.
  9. ^ "Dean Foods Co (DF.N) Company Profile". Archived from the original on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  10. ^ "Brief History". Dean Foods. Archived from the original on 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  11. ^ Aditi Shrivastava (8 Aug 2013). "Dean Foods to close milk factories as earnings sour". Reuters. Retrieved 2 Oct 2013.
  12. ^ "Dean Foods Annual Report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  13. ^ "Dean Foods - Suiza Foods and Dean Foods Complete Merger". Archived from the original on 2018-07-22. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  14. ^ a b "History". TreeHouse Foods. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  15. ^ "The Cornucopia Institute has filed two formal complaints asking the USDA to investigate alleged violations of the federal organic raw by factory farms operating in Idaho and California with ties to Dean Foods-owned Horizon Organic (press release)". Dairy Field. March 1, 2005. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  16. ^ Ivey, Mike (March 7, 2006). "CAN A MEGA-DAIRY BE ORGANIC?". Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  17. ^ [1] Archived December 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "Des Moines Register". The Des Moines Register.[dead link]
  19. ^ "Deans Foods Buys Alpro", Dallas Business Journal, 6 July 2009.
  20. ^ "French company buys dairy company Rachel's". BBC News. 2010-07-28. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  21. ^ Clout-Heavy Dean Foods Kills USDA Investigation of Their Horizon Label Cornucopia Institute. 12 May 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  22. ^ "Grocers irked over not being told that bestselling soy milk is no longer organic". November 9, 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  23. ^ "Pioneer Press: Search Results". "The Cornucopia Institute made the complaints to the U.S. Department of Agriculture against Target and also accuses Silk soymilk producer Dean Foods and its Broomfield, Colo.-based WhiteWave Foods division, of quietly shifting their products away from organics."
  24. ^ "Off Target - Major Retailer Accused of Organic Improprieties State and Federal Complaints Allege Mislabeling | Cornucopia Institute". 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  25. ^ Barrett, Rick. "Dean Foods acquires Waukesha, De Pere milk-processing plants". Journal Sentinel. April 2, 2009. Retrieved on February 16, 2010.
  26. ^ "USDOJ: Justice Department Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Dean Foods Company". 2010-01-22. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  27. ^ "Dean Foods to Vigorously Contest Justice Department Complaint" (Press release). Dallas, Texas. January 22, 2010. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011 – via PRNewswire via COMTEX/. Says Acquisition of Wisconsin Plants Benefits Farmers and Customers
  28. ^ Hethcock, Bill. "Dean Foods to relocate corporate office." Dallas Business Journal. Monday June 8, 2009. Retrieved on August 2, 2009.
  29. ^ a b Wilonsky, Robert (October 13, 2010). "So Dean Foods Is Eliminating the 'Schepps' Name in Dallas. Well, That Doesn't Seem Right". Dallas Observer. Unfair Park. Archived from the original on October 16, 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2010.
  30. ^ "Dean Foods to Transition Schepps Brand to Oak Farms in DFW Area" (Press release). PRNewswire. October 12, 2010. Archived from the original on 12 November 2019. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  31. ^ Wernau, Julie (2012). "Dean Foods sued for Horizon milk's health claims - Chicago Tribune". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  32. ^ "Who's Funding Prop 37, Labeling for Genetically Engineered Foods? | Propositions | Elections 2012". Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  33. ^ "Funding for and against Proposition 37 - Spreadsheets - Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. 2012-08-21. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  34. ^ Wallace, Alicia (23 May 2013). "Dean Foods completes spinoff of WhiteWave". Denver Post. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  35. ^ Dean Foods hopes for milk rebound with DairyPure Fortune, May 4, 2015
  36. ^ Moynihan, Colin; Moyer, Liz (April 7, 2017). "William T. Walters, Famed Sports Bettor, Is Guilty in Insider Trading Case". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  37. ^ "Dean Foods Restructuring Information" (Press release). Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  38. ^ Chapman, Michelle (November 12, 2019). "Business No. 1 milk company declares bankruptcy amid drop in demand". Associated Press. Retrieved November 12, 2019 – via Yahoo.
  39. ^ Mulvany, Lydia; Hill, Jeremy; Doherty, Katherine (November 12, 2019). "Dean Foods Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Reorganization". Bloomberg. Retrieved November 12, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ "Dean Foods files for Chapter 11". Reuters. November 12, 2019. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  41. ^ Chapman, Michelle; Durbin, Dee-Ann (November 13, 2019). "No. 1 milk company declares bankruptcy amid drop in demand". Yahoo. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  42. ^ Semuels, Alana (January 9, 2020). "Milk Has Long Been a Staple of American Life. But Now, the Dairy Industry Is in Trouble". Time.
  43. ^ Lucas, Amelia (2020-02-17). "Dairy Farmers of America agrees to buy Dean Foods, America's biggest milk producer, for $425 million". CNBC. Retrieved 2022-03-28.
  44. ^ Singh, Shruti (February 16, 2017). "Dean Wants to Move Its Menu Beyond Milk With Juice, Ice Cream". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  45. ^ a b Kezar, Korri (June 23, 2017). "Dean Foods gets in on organic with juice company purchase". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  46. ^ "SEC Info - Dean Foods". SEC Info. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
  47. ^ "Dean Foods Co. acquires Uncle Matt's Organic". Reuters. June 22, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  48. ^ Kinney, Jim (September 5, 2016). "Friendly's looks to grow, open restaurants, following sale of ice cream plant". Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  49. ^ a b "COMPANY NEWS; SUIZA AGREES TO THE PURCHASE OF BROUGHTON FOODS". The New York Times. Reuters. September 12, 1998. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  50. ^ Strong, Michael (23 June 2003). "Melody Farms Changes Hands". Crains Detroit Business. Retrieved January 4, 2016.

External links[edit]