Got milk? The fall of a dairy giant

Soy, almond, oat, cashew, coconut, hazelnut, hemp, chickpea, rice, pea…or whichever milk alternative you choose (if you do)



Alternative milks are on the rise, such as coconut milk.

Anna Frazier, Climate & Environment Editor

A report released in November states that America’s largest cow milk producer, Dean Foods, has filed for bankruptcy. Dean Foods is a parent company for many well-known dairy brands, such as Meadow Brook. As of June 2019, the company had over $900 million in debt.

The American consumers’ demand for cow’s milk, once insatiable, has now dropped. Consumption has fallen by over 40% in the last 50 years

Milk consumption has likely fallen due to more than just nutty alternatives for lattes, according to the Associated Press . 

Other beverages have gained popularity for mealtime companions, such as juice and soda. Additionally, the rise of on-the-go breakfast options (think: Clif bars) has given the morning bowl of cereal some competition as well. 

Mark Stephenson, a dairy policy analyst at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told VICE that there will likely be little-to-no impact on consumers’ options at the supermarket. “Consumers won’t know, and I don’t think that for dairy farmers, it’s a very big impact either.”

Correction (2:05pm 02/14/20): In a previous version of this article it named Dean Foods as a parent company to Land O’Lakes. The updated version of the article omits Land O’Lakes as an example for companies owned by Dean Foods.