US milk giant Dean Foods has announced the closure of another dairy facility due to falling sales of milk, with the production facility closing in September. Dean Foods have had several other closures this year and cutting ties with independent dairy suppliers.
In the 2017 annual investors report, it was noted that decreased national dairy consumption and competition from other sectors were accountable for the facility closures. Dean Foods manufactures a range of dairy items, including yoghurt, cheese, cream and ice cream. Plant-based milks are one of the factors contributing to the closure of dairy facilities, with data from the USDA stating that dairy sales were down 9.7 per cent in the past five years.
The alternative dairy products market is booming with sales increasing by 61 per cent in the last five years, and the global dairy alternatives industry is expected to be worth more than $34 billion by 2024.
However, Dean Foods have noticed the shift in consumer preferences. The food manufacturer is a minority investor in Good Karma Foods, with Dean Foods’ CEO revealing that they may become a majority shareholder.
A multitude of reasons leads to people changing their diet to be vegan, or in some cases low in dairy and subsequently affecting the market. Veganism has been increasing rapidly in recent years, with around 7 per cent of the UK population now leading a vegan diet.
Reducing dairy has been a trend around the world, with lactose intolerance, health and ethical issues leading the way for consumer change. The consumption of dairy, and meat, has been linked to several health problems, including increased bone fracture rates, and cancers which affect the reproductive system.