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%2C+such+as+coconut+milk.

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

Anna Frazier, Climate & Environment Editor

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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.