Well, file this under news that isn’t the least bit surprising: according to a company release, Dean Foods, the largest supplier of milk in the U.S., has reported a 91 PERCENT DROP IN PROFITS. At this time last year, Dean Foods net income was $14.53 million, but now in their third fiscal quarter of 2017, their net income has dropped to $1.38 million. Net sales also dropped from $1.94 billion, as opposed to $1.96 billion last year.
And why the dramatic drop in profits? You guessed it: no one wants dairy anymore. The consumption of dairy has been facing a steady decline for decades. Plus, more consumers are waking up to the fact the dairy industry not only has a major negative impact on the environment, but milk is also not the nutritional powerhouse that many of us once thought it was. It turns out, we can get the same nutrients from fortified plant-based milk and whole, plant-based foods.
In fact, the dairy-free milk market has surged within the past few years. Almond milk sales, in particular, have increased by 250 percent from 2000-2015 to almost $895 million. New nut-free and soy-free alternatives, made from hemp, rice, and vegetables, have also been cropping up. The latest release, a milk formulated from pea protein, shows great potential since it appeals to consumers looking to avoid soy as well as nuts. Plus, pea-protein milk has a much smaller environmental impact than almond and boasts more calcium and nutrients overall.
We think it’s time for the dairy industry to face reality: cow’s milk may be going out of style, but there’s a future in plant-based milk. Just ask major food company, Danone, who recently reported a $760 million dollar profit spike due to their dairy-free brands. With Dean Foods buying stake in Good Karma, makers of non-dairy milk and yogurt earlier this year, it seems like Dean Foods knows which direction they need to head if they want to stay in touch with consumer needs and trends.
To learn more about the impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.
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