The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • The 2020 Global Dairy Business Year in Review

    By Mark O'Keefe December 22, 2020

    See the global dairy mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, new facilities, executive hires and marketing initiatives that made 2020 a significant year.

    At the beginning of 2020, few could have predicted the tumultuous time ahead, with the entire world battling a global pandemic, COVID-19. Global dairy businesses have had to be nimble and resilient to deal with the challenges they face.  

    Nonetheless, business activity has remained brisk, as one can see from the U.S. Dairy Export Council's 2020 Global Dairy Business Year in Review. 

    USDEC closely monitors media coverage of global dairy business for our members and summarizes what they need to know in our weekly, members-only newsletter, Global Dairy eBrief. From those newsletters, we cherry-picked what's most relevant to share. We started with items from the January 3 Global Dairy eBrief and ended with the December 18 edition.

    What follows is a one-of-a-kind, curated, aggregated and archival summary of global dairy business developments in 2020, presented in month-by-month chronological order. We put company names in bold for easy scanning.

    January Plans for a €140-million Glanbia/A-ware cheese plant in Belview, Ireland, were put on hold over objections from two environmental groups. The groups cited concerns over greenhouse gas emissions, water quality and ammonia. The Dutch-style cheese plant is a joint venture between Glanbia Ireland and the Netherlands’ Royal A-ware, who were planning to begin construction next year, with commercial production by the end of 2022. The plant would produce about 40,000 tons per year of continental cheese in “Euro blocks” (13-15kg) and 11,500 tons of “valued-added” cheeses in 250g-3kg packages. (Irish Times, 12/20/19)

    Southeast Asian dairy, food and beverage giant Fraser & Neave (F&N) is building a new manufacturing, R&D and distribution center in Singapore focused on innovation, smart technology and sustainability. The new 375,000-sq.-ft., S$80-million site (about US$60-million) will feature a state-of-the-art storage and retrieval system that integrates manufacturing, warehousing and distribution of chilled products, solar panels, wastewater recovery systems and other design elements that will allow the company to move most of its Singaporean non-alcoholic beverage operations under one roof. F&N says the facility will increase its innovation capacity and as well as contribute to the vibrancy of Singapore as a food innovation hub. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Straits Times, 12/4/19)

    U.S. private equity fund Bain Capital is in talks to buy Indian ice cream and dairy processor Dinshaw’s Dairy Foods. Dinshaw’s has been on the selling block for months; media reports previously pegged Hindustan Unilever as the leading bidder . . . Hong Kong-listed infant formula maker Ausnutria and German can producer Trivium Packaging are building a joint-venture can manufacturing plant on-site at Ausnutria’s infant nutrition facility in Heerenveen, Netherlands. The €30-million (about US$34 million) project will have a capacity of 150 million cans per year by 2021. The partners also signed a 10-year supply agreement in conjunction with the deal. (FoodBev.com, 12/23/19; Live Mint, 12/23/19)

    Little Caesars Enterprises is setting its sights on international markets, planning to open “hundreds” of stores next year outside the United States. The company named India, the Philippines, Poland, Spain, the UK and Vietnam as major targets . . . Aaron Forde is stepping down as CEO of Irish agribusiness Aurivo. He said it was “time for a new leader to take Aurivo to the next phase of growth.” (RTE News, 12/24/19; Bloomberg, 12/19/19)

    China’s Mengniu Dairy paid a combined $106 million for a 5% stake in cheese and dairy manufacturer Shanghai Milkground Food and a 43% stake in Jilin Guangze Dairy Technology (a wholly owned subsidiary of Shanghai Milkground). In the first half of 2019, sales for Shanghai Milkground’s cheese business doubled to $48 million, half of that due to a five-fold increase in a snack cheese stick. Mengniu has been seeking to grow its cheese business for the past few years, in part by cooperating with Denmark’s Arla Foods on developing cheese products that cater specifically to Chinese tastes. (USDEC China office; Company reports)

    Borden’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing this week reignited press stories about the decline of dairy in the face of plant-based alternatives. NMPF issued this statement after the filing to set the record straight: “U.S. dairy remains a strong and diverse industry. Looking more broadly than milk in a glass, per-capita dairy consumption has been on the rise since the 1970s, with 2018, the most-recently reported year, being the most popular year for U.S. dairy since 1962. Fluid milk remains a staple in 94 percent of U.S. households today and continues to outsell plant-based imitators by a margin of more than 11 to 1.” Unlike Dean Foods’ bankruptcy, Borden intends to restructure, shed debt and position itself for “long-term success.” The company cited its debt load and pension obligations as the cause of the filing. (NMPF; CNN Business, 1/6/20)

    Coca-Cola Co. acquired the outstanding stake in ultra-filtered milk processor fairlife from its joint-venture partner Select Milk Producers. Chicago-based fairlife will continue to operate as a stand-alone business. (Company reports)

    Hong Kong-listed infant formula company Ausnutria is making a push into China with its Australian milk powder business Oz Farm. The company plans to launch new packaging targeting Chinese consumers, engage with customers at special events and online, and advertise on mother-child themed TV programs, among other activities. Ausnutria acquired Oz Farm in 2018, the year after buying Australian infant formula manufacturer ADP . . . The European Whey Processors Association (EWPA) took over the Arla Foods Ingredients’ consumer-focused whey educational website wheyforliving.com. EWPA plans to use the forum to “inspire and ensure that discussions about whey proteins, as well as other proteins, are based on facts and science-based knowledge rather than myths or hearsay” . . . Cold Stone Creamery’s Singaporean partner Refinery Concepts plans to close all three Cold Stone outlets in Singapore by the end of January. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports)

    The Mexican Food Security Agency (SEGALMEX), the Durango state government and local businessmen announced a joint project to build a milk plant in the municipality of Gómez Palacio. The facility, which should be up and running by January 2021, will manufacture up to 100 tons per day of milk powder, as well as ultra-pasteurized fluid milk. In conjunction with the plant, the partners will build two collection centers in Lerdo and Nuevo Ideal. The project will support local dairy farmers and Mexico’s LICONSA milk program. LICONSA operates 327 points of sale in Durango, selling milk at a subsidized price of 2.5 pesos (about US 13 cents) per liter. (USDEC Mexico office)

    Belarusian dairy Savushkin Product paid $23 million for a majority stake (50.7%) of Belarusian cheese and dairy processor Baranavichy Dairy. Savushkin is reportedly interested specifically in expanding Belarusian cheese output and pledged to invest at least $5 million within two years to increase semi-hard cheese manufacturing capacity at Baranavichy’s plant in the Brest region. (Dairy Markets, 1/10/20)

    Ireland’s Aurivo named CFO Donal Tierney as new CEO effective immediately. Tierney replaces Aaron Forde, who announced he was stepping down late last year. (Agriland, 1/13/20)

    NutriCo Morinaga, a joint venture between Japan’s Morinaga Milk Industry and Pakistan firms ICI Pakistan and Unibrand, began commercial production at a new $36-million infant/growing-up formula facility in Sheikhupura, Pakistan, near Lahore. The plant’s annual capacity is 12,000 tons per year. (just-food.com, 1/15/20; The News International, 1/15/20)

    TRIOMF East Africa, a group of South African and Rwandan investors, is building a $38-million milk powder plant in Rwanda’s Northern Province under the name of East African Dairies. Local farmers will have a 20% stake in the facility, with TRIOMF controlling 80%. The partners claim it will be the first dedicated milk powder facility in Rwanda and the largest dairy plant in the country. It will handle 260 tons of raw milk per day. Construction is supposed to start in late 2020, with completion one year later. (The New Times, 1/20/20)

    Singapore-listed food and agri-business firm Olam International is reorganizing its portfolio into two operating groups: Olam Food Ingredients (including its dairy, cocoa, coffee, nuts and spices business) and Olam Global Agri (grains, animal feed, edible oils, rice, cotton and commodity financial services) . . . Singapore start-up TurtleTree Labs says it has developed technology to create real milk without the animal. The company uses stem cells to create mammary gland cells that can lactate. (USDEC Southeast Asia office)

    Arla Foods broke ground on a new 97,000-sq.-ft., €40-million (about US$44-million) innovation center in Nr. Vium, Denmark. The center will serve Arla’s Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI) division covering a range of R&D projects, including advanced separation technology to isolate specific components of whey and milk, heat treatment, and pasteurization technology to improve ingredients’ functionality and shelf-life. Arla said the facility, which includes labs and a pilot plant, will work closely with AFI’s nearby Danmark Protein site to “create a unique environment for process development and pilot production to unleash all the wonders of whey.” It is expected to open in summer 2021. (Company reports)

    Federal antitrust regulators are probing the potential acquisition of Dean Foods by Dairy Farmers of America. The Justice Department is discussing with farmers and retailers the potential impact of such a deal on milk prices and competition in the dairy sector . . . Jon Jenkins, formerly CEO of Allied Milling and Baking, took over as CEO of Britain’s Müller Milk & Ingredients, after Patrick Müller stepped down. Patrick Müller will continue to serve as CEO of Müller’s home delivery business Milk & More. (Wall Street Journal, 1/27/20; DairyReporter.com, 1/27/20)

    February-2Michigan-based Lakeview Capital acquired The Mochi Ice Cream Co., Los Angeles, from private equity firm Century Park Capital Partners. Lakeview says it plans to invest “significant capital” to make the company a “leading, global branded mochi snack platform” . . . Germany’s DMK Group is selling its Waldfeucht-Haaren ice cream plant to Schwarz Produktion—the manufacturing arm of German retail group Schwarz Group. DMK will concentrate its ice cream operations at its Prenzlau and Everswinkel sites. It plans to increase Everswinkel ice cream capacity from 65 million liters per year to 100 million liters. (Company reports; Forbes, 1/31/20)

    Citing reduced milk flows, Lactalis Australia is closing its Rockhampton, Queensland, fluid milk plant and scaling back yogurt production at its South Brisbane site. The Rockhampton plant has been running only 3-4 days per week “for a number of years.” The company said it will transition yogurt production to plants in Victoria and Tasmania. (ABC, 2/5/20)

    Canada’s Saputo will close its Trenton, Ontario, cheese plant this September and its Saint John, New Brunswick, fluid and fresh products facility in January 2021. The company cited the need to improve operational efficiencies and “right-size” its manufacturing footprint and sales force in Canada. Production will transfer to other locations within Saputo’s Canadian dairy division. Separately, the company promoted Richard Wallace to president and COO of its Australian dairy division (he was formerly senior VP of operations there). Carl Colizza, president and COO of Saputo North America, will assume (on an interim basis) an additional role as head of Saputo’s Dairy Foods Division (USA) when current USA President and COO Paul Corney retires this summer. (Company reports)

    Seattle-based Darigold is spending $67 million to expand fluid milk processing capabilities at its Boise, Idaho, facility. Strong sales for its FIT ultra-filtered milk line precipitated the project, but the expansion will also see additional capacity for other Darigold beverages as well. The investment includes an aseptic processing line to produce FIT in a shelf-stable version. Darigold expects to complete the expansion by the fall of 2020. (Company reports)

    Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) agreed to pay $425 million to buy 44 of Dean Foods’ fluid and frozen facilities and the real estate, inventory, equipment and “all other assets” necessary to operate the facilities. The deal is not yet final. It is subject to higher or “otherwise better” offers until March 31, 2020, and still must gain regulatory approvals. Dean said it was currently in discussion with other parties for 16 facilities (plants and depots) not included in the DFA agreement. (For a full list of plants covered by the deal and those left out, click here.) Dean reportedly received purchase interest from 99 entities after its original bankruptcy filing. (Company reports; The Dallas Morning News, 2/17/20; New York Times, 2/17/20)

    Norway’s TINE doesn’t expect to start producing Jarlsberg cheese at its new €77-million greenfield production plant in Mogeely, County Cork, Ireland, until this summer. The plant, which will make 14,000 tons of cheese per year to start (with eventual expansion to 20,000 tons), is a partnership between TINE and Irish Co-op Dairygold. Product is earmarked for export to Europe, Australia and the United States. The projected opening date for the facility was originally summer 2019, but TINE has pushed it back multiple times due to regulatory and other delays. (Company reports; DairyReporter.com, 2/17/20)

    Malaysian agribusiness firm FGV Holdings entered the dairy sector by acquiring a majority stake in RedAgri Farm, a Malaysian milk producer/fluid milk processor and owner of the Bright Cow brand name. (USDEC Southeast Asia office)

    Arla Foods plans to invest €619 million (about US$670 million) in major projects this year to expand capacity in milk powder and other sectors targeting international demand. It will be an annual capital investment record for the Danish company and will include completing a powder tower in Pronsfeld, Germany, expanding mozzarella capacity in Branderup, Denmark, and upgrading Bahrain cheese production . . . Swiss food processing expert Bühler Holding and flavor and fragrance house Givaudan plan to open an innovation center in Singapore late this year dedicated to plant-based products . . . The European Investment Bank is lending €50 million (about US$54 million) to Polish dairy processor Mlekpol for a series of expansion and modernization projects at Mlekpol’s Grajewo facility, including additional milk processing capacity, wastewater treatment and warehousing/logistics . . . Vertically integrated Australian dairy processor Mungalli Creek Dairy opened a new A$3-million (about US$2-million) processing plant in Millaa Millaa, Queensland, and paid another A$3 million for additional farmland to increase milk production. Mungalli makes organic milk, cheese and yogurt. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports; European Commission; Food & Drink Business, 2/18/20)

    March-4Australian calf milk replacer manufacturer ProviCo purchased Fonterra Australia’s Dennington, Victoria, milk powder plant. The company expects to double production of its milk replacers with a focus on its ProfeLac line. While it will not collect milk from farmers, ProviCo says it buys from “virtually every dairy manufacturer in Australia,” and plans to increase whey purchasing from Australian cheesemakers for drying at Dennington. ProviCo hopes to finalize the purchase in mid-April and begin operations “soon after.” Fonterra shuttered the facility in late November 2019 due in part to reduced milk flows in Australia. (Farm Online, 3/2/20)

    Dutch nutrition science company DSM paid €765 million (about US$853 million) for Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMO) maker Glycom, based in Denmark. DSM is focusing on creating and commercializing HMOs and expanding markets beyond infants to children and adults . . . Swiss dairy ingredient and infant formula maker Hochdorf sold its 60% percent stake in Germany’s Uckermärker Milch to its joint venture partner Ostmilch Handels. Hochdorf had planned to utilize the Uckermärker plant to make infant formula and other products for European and Central and South American markets but instead opted to expand its site in Sulgen, Switzerland . . . California-based Brothers International Desserts purchased Wisconsin’s Schoep’s Ice Cream, which filed for receivership last fall. (Company reports; Wisconsin State Journal, 2/27/20; DairyReporter.com, 2/27/20)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group Chairman John Monaghan plans to retire as a director of the co-op when his term ends in November. The company plans to announce a chair-elect by no later than August. (New Zealand Herald, 3/5/20)

    Knowing what the competition is up to can be critical to plotting export growth strategy. Here are some of the latest product rollouts competing with U.S. dairy:

    • Arla Foods introduced a new line of plant-based products under the brand name JÖRÐ. The initial lineup includes three milk alternatives: Oat, Oat & Barley and Oat & Hemp. The line will debut in Denmark, Sweden and the UK, but Arla says it will investigate opportunities in other markets. Arla called JÖRÐ “adjacent to [its] existing product portfolio” and said, as a category leader in dairy, “it is natural for Arla to enter this category and contribute to the development of it with new products and flavors.”
    • Separately, Arla expanded its Arla Organic Milk line to Malaysia. The product is halal and lactose free.
    • Nestlé Australia launched a plant-based version of its powdered Milo The product replaces milk powder with soy and oats. The rollout follows the December 2019 debut of the oat- and pea-based Ninho Forti + in Brazil and the January introduction of GoodNes chocolate oat beverage under the Nesquik name.
    • Thailand’s CP-Meiji merged traditional Thai flavors with dairy in two new pasteurized milks based on Thai desserts. Nom Bua Loi Phuak combines taro ball in coconut milk and Ruam Mit mixes coconut milk, tapioca, sugar, corn, lotus root, sweet potato and jackfruit together in a dessert bowl. CP-Meiji translated both to fluid milk. The products are a prime example of innovation and tailoring products to regional tastes.
    • Japan’s Megmilk Snow Brand launched what it claims is the first fermented milk product with a functional food claim for allergies. Nyu-San-Kin Helve helps relieve eye and nose discomfort from allergies due to its Lactobacillus helveticus SBT2171 content, the company says.
    • Asahi Group is rolling out a soy version of its Calpis cultured milk drink in April. The product, Green Calpis, will target health-conscious women and non-dairy consumers. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports; FoodNavigator-Asia.com, 3/10/20, 3/3/20)

    Qatari dairy Baladna signed a deal with Jordan’s Brother’s Co. for Food Industry wherein Brother’s will help the company start-up a new cheese production line. The Jordanian company is an expert in manufacturing Arab sweet cheese, particularly Nabulsi cheese . . . Tunisian dairy company Land’Or plans to build a €16-million (about US$18-million) cheese plant in Kenitra, Morocco. The facility, set to open in the first quarter of 2021, will produce canned cheese, melting cheese and fresh cheese for the Moroccan market . . . Canada’s Agrifoods Cooperative entered into a licensing agreement with New Zealand’s a2 Milk Co. to be the exclusive processor for the a2 brand in Canada . . . The Australian government earmarked A$15 million for Australian dairy export assistance. The money will be used to reduce red tape involved in exporting, streamline audit arrangements and raise export awareness. (USDEC Middle East office; Company reports; DairyGlobal.net, 3/9/20; Morocco World News, 3/7/20)

    New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office approved two Synlait Milk purchases: its buyout of New Zealand dairy processor Dairyworks and its acquisition of a 1,400-acre dairy farm adjacent to its Dunsandel, South Island, processing plant. The company said it planned to use the land to provide better water security, install a rail siding that will eliminate 16,000 truck movements per year, and conduct farming trials and research. (DairyReporter, 3/16/20; Stuff.co.nz, 3/11/20)

    France’s Bel Group purchased French plant-based food manufacturer All in Foods. All in Foods markets plant-based cheese alternatives under the Nature & Moi brand. The purchase aligns with Bel’s strategy to “diversify our product offering to meet new consumer expectations,” the company said. (Company reports)

    The governments of Indonesia and the Netherlands reportedly signed a partnership agreement for cooperation on three major projects, including construction of a new Frisian Flag milk plant in Indonesia by FrieslandCampina. No further details are known at this time . . . The UK’s Bradbury’s Cheese is spending £8.5 million (about US$10 million) to develop a new range of cheese snack products and pursue other growth projects aimed at domestic and export markets. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; The Business Desk, 3/11/20)

    Dean Foods and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) agreed to “mutually terminate” their $425-million asset purchase agreement announced in February. The original deal had prompted strong objections from some farmers and agriculture advocacy groups as well as some members of DFA and Dean shareholders. Dean will continue to accept bids for its assets through March 30 and said in a statement that it still expected DFA to submit a bid. DFA said it was reevaluating its options. (Wisconsin State Farmers, 3/25/20)

    Italy’s Newlat is in talks to acquire a majority stake in Italian dairy group Centrale del Latte d’Italia. Newlat makes pasta, baked goods and baby foods; the Centrale del Latte d’Italia investment would mark its entry into dairy . . . UK-based consumer products company PZ Cussons reached an agreement to sell its Nigerian dairy business Nutricima to FrieslandCampina WAMCO. Nutricima makes and markets a variety of powdered, evaporated and ready-to-drink milk and yogurt beverages under the Nunu and Yo brands . . . New Zealand’s a2 Milk increased its stake in fellow Kiwi dairy processor Synlait Milk from 17.4% to 19.8%. (Motley Fool Australia, Reuters, 3/23/20; 3/19/20; Food Business Africa, 3/19/20)

    April-1Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) came out on top as the winning bidder for the majority of Dean Foods, despite the cancellation of their original purchase agreement last week. DFA will pay $433 million to acquire the assets, rights, interests and properties relating to 44 of the company’s fluid and frozen facilities. Prairie Farms purchased eight facilities, two distribution branches and certain other assets. Dean has long relationships with both buyers. Mana Saves McArthur and Producers Dairy Foods were the winning bidders for facilities in Miami and Reno, Nev., respectively. Harmoni Inc. purchased Dean’s Uncle Matt’s business. “Substantially all of our processing assets will continue to operate as dairies,” Dean said. All agreements are subject to court approval and certain other closing conditions. (Company reports)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group is selling its China Farms operations as well as its joint venture stake in DPA Brazil. The co-op wrote down both operations by a combined total of NZ$134 million this year, after writing off NZ$200 million on China Farms alone last year. The farms, carrying 31,000 milking cows housed in a feedlot system, are now worth NZ$500 million. Fonterra is also reviewing its joint farming venture in China with Abbott (which it wrote down by NZ$62 million this year). (Company reports)

    Australian-Kiwi dairy processor Keytone Dairy Corp. started commercial production at a second facility in Rolleston, New Zealand, and signed multiple contracts to supply companies marketing in China and Oceania. Keytone says it inked deals with Iovate Health Sciences Australia, Walmart (China) Investment and Nouriz (Shanghai) Find Food worth a combined total of A$5.3 million. The China deals are follow-on orders for milk powder under the Sam’s Club and Nouriz brand names. The Iovate deal is a “long-term manufacturing agreement,” but terms of the contracts or products to be made were not defined. The new Rolleston plant on the South Island triples Keytone’s manufacturing capacity and will allow the company to realign sales toward “higher value proprietary products.” The plant is registered with the Certification and Accreditation Administration of the People's Republic of China and can produce infant formula. Keytone plans to sell to domestic and international markets and says it is also fast-tracking an online sales platform. (Company reports)

    A federal bankruptcy court approved Dairy Farmers of America’s bid to purchase most of Dean Foods. But included in the sale contract is language that would allow certain grocery chains or dairy groups to file claims against their merger . . . Singapore’s F&N Dairy Investment plans to buy more than 17 million shares in Vietnamese dairy Vinamilk, lifting its overall Vinamilk stake to almost 19%. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Politico, 4/6/20)

    Business continues in the midst of pandemic: Egyptian cheesemaker Riyada is targeting a 22% increase in exports this year to reach $11 million. In addition to expanding sale in current Middle Eastern markets, the company is targeting South Africa and East Asia . . . Slovenian dairy Ljubljanske Mlekarne shipped its first load of ice cream to China as part of a 43-ton order—its first with a Chinese buyer. (USDEC Middle East office; BNE IntelliNews, 4/13/20)

    Japan’s Meiji paid $255 million for a 25% stake in Singapore-based Japfa Ltd.’s Chinese dairy farming operation AustAsia Investment Holdings. The deal is aimed at securing milk supply as it expands its processing operations. Meiji is expanding production capacity for milk and yogurt at its existing Chinese plant in Suzhou, a project that it expects will go online in Spring 2021. It is also building a new plant in Tianjin, with operations expected to start in the second half of 2022. Meiji says its Chinese business is expanding steadily, particularly demand for chilled milk. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra is among a group of companies that invested a total of €15 million in German food start-up YFood. YFood makes meal replacement drinks and bars containing dairy protein. (Reuters, 4/21/20)

    China’s Yili Group plans to build a $423-million, vertically integrated dairy farm and milk processing operation in Zhumadian, Henan Province . . . German dairy processor Hochwald contracted with SIG Combibloc Group to provide 15 aseptic filling machines for Hochwald’s processing plant being built in Mechernich, Germany. The plan, due for completion in 2022, will turn up to 800,000 tons of milk per year into UHT milk, cream, condensed milk and flavored milk for the Europe and export markets in China, Middle East and Africa. Britain’s Futura Foods opened a new cut-and-wrap plant in Minffordd, North Wales. The facility is the former site of GRH Food, which shut down last summer before being bought by Futura. (Futura is owned by Danish dairy business Nordex Food.) The company said the facility will complement its existing range of cheeses, allowing it to expand into cheddar, mozzarella and traditional UK cheeses as well. (Cambrian News, 4/19/20; Xinhua, 4/10/20)

    May-3

    Australia’s Camperdown Dairy, a unit of Australian Dairy Nutritionals Group (ADNG), is building an A$8-million infant formula plant in Camperdown, Victoria. The facility, which ADNG says is a “stepping stone to a much larger investment,” will include a “small evaporator and dryer and mixing plant.” The company plans to target export markets with its own-label brands. (Farm Online, 4/24/20)

    MGD Acquisition is buying Dean Foods’ Hilo, Hawaii, manufacturing plant, related distribution branches and a license to the Meadow Gold Hawaii brand name . . . Borden Dairy and Dean bondholders proposed a merger as an alternative to the sale of most of Dean’s assets to Dairy Farmers of America (DFA). The bondholders said the merger would avoid any antitrust concerns related to the Dean-DFA deal . . . Royal Group, an investment firm backed by Abu Dhabi’s royal family, is reportedly paying $1 billion for a 20% stake in Middle Eastern hypermarket chain LuLu Group International. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Company reports; Wall Street Journal, 4/23/20)

    Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina opened a new 280,000-sq.-ft. distribution facility in Veghel, Netherlands. The operation handles ingredient distribution for European and export markets, particularly the activities of FrieslandCampina’s DFE Pharma business . . . Vietnam’s Vinamilk completed its first production run of sweetened condensed milk for export to China. The company signed a $20-million contract to supply its Ông Tho brand to a Chinese buyer at this year’s Gulfood. (Company reports)

    Infant formula maker Wattle Health Australia agreed to a strategic partnership with Australian canner Shepparton Partners Collective (SPC). SPC will help Wattle secure an A$20-million (around US$13-million) line of credit in exchange for Wattle shares and, eventually, co-ownership of Wattle’s Uganic organic infant formula brand. Wattle will use the money to complete its Corio Bay spray-drying plant in Victoria. The company markets the Uganic brand in Australia and China. When Uganic sales hit A$10 million, the partnership will become a 50-50 joint venture. (The Market Herald, 5/4/20; IEG Vu, 5/4/20)

    The U.S. Justice Department said it would approve Dairy Farmers of America’s (DFA’s) $433-million bid to purchase Dean Foods subject to DFA selling processing plants in Harvard, Ill.; De Pere, Wis.; and Franklin, Mass. . . . China’s New Hope Dairy paid $240 million to buy northwest China dairy processor Ningxia Huanmei Dairy Development. (Caixin Online, 5/6/20; Politico, 5/4/20)

    Swiss dairy group Hochdorf is dissolving three business units after failing to find buyers. The company will liquidate snack maker Snapz Foods, vegetable oil processor Marbacher Ölmühle and dried fruit maker Zifru Trockenprodukte as part of its strategy to narrow the company focus to baby care and dairy ingredients . . . British coffee chain Costa Coffee, owned by Coca-Cola, is taking its ready-to-drink coffee beverages to China. The company already operates more than 500 Costa coffee outlets in China. (Company reports; FoodNavigator.com, 4/30/20)

    French dairy giant Lactalis is investing €1.8 million (about US$2 million) in its Bosnian division Lactalis BH and its Inmer dairy manufacturing plant. (SeeNews, 5/11/20)

    Coca-Cola set up a joint venture with China’s Mengniu Dairy to produce and sell chilled milk in China. The two sides reported no further details of the plan, the size of the investment or the brand name for the milk. Less than 30% of Chinese households currently purchase chilled milk, according to Kantar Worldpanel China, so growth potential is “huge,” Kantar said. (ECNS, 5/13/20)

    Swiss flavor and fragrance company Givaudan is selling its processed and grated cheese business to Dutch specialty cheese business St. Paul Group. St. Paul Group describes itself as “a supplier of cheese solutions for the food industry” and expects the Givaudan deal to help it build its position in ready meals, snacks and processed foods. (Company reports)

    Foremost Farms USA is closing its Chilton, Wis., Italian cheese plant. The company cited decreased demand from foodservice due to COVID closures as well as operational inefficiencies due to the age of the facility . . . Nestlé is investing CHF100 million (about US$103 million) to expand manufacturing operations in China. The company plans to build its first plant-based products plant in China, increase capacity at its Tianjin pet food plant and upgrade its confectionery operation. (Company reports; Wisconsin State Farmer, 5/18/20)

    Australia’s largest organic milk producer Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia (ODFA) entered receivership, owing unsecured creditors A$3-5 million and National Australia Bank A$8 million. The company cited slow sales to China and the impact of coronavirus among a range of external pressures on the business. Creditors met this week to discuss ODFA’s fate. The co-op owns a fluid, butter and cream plant in Geelong, Victoria. (ABC, 5/27/20)

    Barry Callebaut Group acquired Australia-based chocolate maker GKC Foods and plans to add an additional production line to GKC’s Melbourne plant. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; FoodBev.com, 5/27/20)

    Japan’s Yakult is opening three new sales offices in China and expanding its factory in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province. Construction on the manufacturing plant was supposed to start in April but was postponed to August due to COVID. The expected completion date is April 2022 . . . Food Lion and the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association filed an antitrust lawsuit against Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) challenging its acquisition of most of Dean Foods’ assets. The plaintiffs charge that DFA is “an aspiring monopolist” and are seeking an injunction to block the sale, even though the U.S. Justice Department gave it a greenlight earlier this month. (DairyReporter.com, 5/26/20; FoodDive, 5/20/20)

    June-3Australia’s Keytone Dairy Corp. signed a licensing agreement with R&A Bailey & Co. to distribute ready-to-drink Bailey’s non-alcoholic coffee-flavored milk drinks and powdered beverages. The products are slated for rollout in August and will be manufactured at Keytone’s Melbourne plant. The company will begin distributing the products in Australia but is eyeing expansion to Hong Kong, Taiwan and New Zealand. (Small Caps, 5/28/20)

    U.S. ice cream maker Turkey Hill acquired Yarnell Ice Cream’s Searcy, Ark., ice cream and frozen novelty facility from Yarnell owner Schulze & Burch Biscuit Co. . . . French retail giant Carrefour purchased the Wellcome Taiwan convenience-store chain from Hong Kong-based retailer Dairy Farm International. The deal makes Carrefour the No. 2 c-store chain in Taiwan. (DairyReporter.com, 6/4/20; Reuters, 6/2/20)

    Polish dairy Mlekovita reported that its first quarter export volume rose 30%, with value reaching $100 million. The company says it ships 5,000 tons of milk powder a month to Algeria . . . UK dairy group Meadow Foods is investing £4 million (about US$5 million) to add manufacturing capacity for plant-based products to its Chester, UK, facility. The product line will include alternatives to milk, yogurt, cream and custard. Meadow expects to start commercial production by the end of the year . . . U.S.-based Univar Solutions signed a deal to distribute lactose-free milk powders from Finland’s Valio to more than a dozen European countries. (FoodBev.com, 6/1/20, 5/29/20; Dairy News, 5/29/20)

    Dairy Farmers of America sold its Chestnut Labs food safety solutions business to Chicago-based Mérieux NutriSciences. Chestnut has operations in Springfield, Mo., and Ithaca, N.Y. . . . Nestlé Health Science acquired a majority stake in Illinois-based collagen protein specialist Vital Proteins . . . Chr. Hansen paid $530 million for probiotics producer UAS Laboratories. UAS was owned by Lakeview Equity Partners . . . The European Commission approved Elanco Animal Health’s pending acquisition of Bayer’s animal health business. Elanco expects to close the deal by early August. (Company reports; FoodBev.com, 6/10/20; Agriland, 6/8/20)

    New Dairy Opco, a new entity formed by investment firms Capitol Peak Partners and KKR, won the auction to buy Borden Dairy out of bankruptcy. Capitol is led by Gregg Engles, former chairman and CEO of Dean Foods. KKR took Borden private in the 1990s, selling off many of its brands in subsequent years, and was a major lender to the company prior to the bankruptcy filing. Laguna Dairy, a subsidiary of Mexico’s Grupo Lala, is still the majority owner of Borden. A U.S. Bankruptcy Court must still approve the deal. (cfo.com, 6/16/20; Wall Street Journal, 6/15/20)

    Vertically-integrated Australian dairy processor Beston Global Food sold its dairy farm operations to Australia’s Aurora Dairies for A$40 million (about US$28 million). Beston plans to use the proceeds to reduce debt, upgrade its plant operations and enhance margins by focusing on a product mix of mozzarella and lactoferrin. Under the terms of the deal, Aurora will supply Beston with raw milk from the farms for the next 10 years. (DairyReporter.com, 6/15/20)

    Netherlands-based Upfield Group is spending €50 million (about US$56 million) to build a new R&D facility in Wageningen, Netherlands, to develop plant-based dairy alternatives. The company, which manufactures plant-based cheese alternatives and spreads, expects to open the lab before the end of 2021 . . . The UAE’s Koita Foods plans to begin exporting lactose-free dairy products, organic milk and plant-based dairy alternatives to the Asia-Pacific region, starting with Singapore and South Korea in August . . . Qatari dairy Baldana is adding a UHT production line capable of processing 170,000 liters per day. The company, which already ships to Oman, Afghanistan and Yemen, plans to extend its regional footprint into additional export markets with long-life products (USDEC Southeast Asia office; USDEC Middle East office; Food Business News, 6/11/20)

    Crystal Farms’ Cheese Wraps won the “best cheese” and the “best manufacturing/technology innovation” categories in the World Dairy Innovation Awards 2020 sponsored by FoodBev Media. Crystal Farms is based in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. The World Dairy Innovation Awards included 20 categories overall, with a judging panel of nine dairy industry experts considering 245 entries from 12 countries. (FoodBev Media, 6/16/20)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra said it would pay up to 10 cents per kilogram of milk solids from the June 2021 dairy season to farms that meet its sustainability and value targets.(Reuters, 6/22/20)

    Vinamik has become the first Vietnamese dairy enterprise licensed to export dairy products to the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia and various countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Western Asia … General Mills has launched a regenerative pilot project on three dairy farms in western Michigan, which requires a holistic approach to managing land, cows and manure. Regenerative practices help increase water infiltration, improve nutrient cycling and reduce soil erosion … New Zealand’s a2 Milk Co. has fueled speculation that it is in the running to buy the Mataura Valley Milk company, also in New Zealand … Italy’s Parmalat is to launch an e-commerce offering after what it describes as the “unprecedented growth” of online shopping during the COVID-19 period. (Saigon Online, 6/20/20; Dairy Reporter, 6/18/20; Inside FMCG, 6/22/20; just-food.com, 6/22/20) 

    July-1

    Unilever is spending $112 million to expand its ice cream plant in Taicang, China. When completed, the facility will cover nearly 710,000 sq. ft. and boast an annual capacity of 150,000 tons of ice cream. Unilever expects the expansion to open in early 2022, and has further plans to build out the Taicang operation. (FoodBev.com, 6/25/20)

    California Dairies Inc. closed its plant in Artesia, Calif., citing the need to “maximize value” to its customers and members amid the evolving marketplace and shifting regional milk supplies . . . Fonterra Co-operative Group named current farmer director Peter McBride as chairman elect. McBride will replace current chairman John Monaghan when he retires in November . . . U.S. burger chain Shake Shack says it is “firing up” growth plans for China, with 55 new locations in the works over the next decade. The company currently works with Chinese licensee Maxim’s Caterers Ltd. . . . Singapore-based biotech startup TurtleTree Labs secured an additional $3.2 million in funding to back its efforts to produce milk from mammalian cells without the need for animals. The funding, the company says, “will enhance our scale-up development, bringing us one step closer to commercialization” . . . CEC Entertainment, owner of the Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza chains, filed for bankruptcy protection last week, citing fallout from the pandemic. The company said it will continue operating during its restructuring. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports; Nation’s Restaurant News, 6/30/20; Capital Press, 6/29/20; TheDairySite, 6/26/20; Washington Post, 6/25/20)

    Glanbia Ireland secured planning approval to build a €140-million cheese manufacturing plant in Belview, Ireland. The Dutch-style cheese plant, originally announced last year but held up over environmental concerns, is a joint venture between Glanbia Ireland and the Netherlands’ Royal A-ware. The plant will reportedly produce about 40,000 tons per year of cheese in “Euro blocks” (13-15kg) and 11,500 tons of “valued-added” cheeses in 250g-3kg packages. Product will be sold to export markets. (Agriland, 7/2/20)

    Canadian pension fund PSP Investments purchased a 25% stake in New Zealand dairy farm group Dairy Holdings. Dairy Holdings operates 75 farms on the South Island and is the largest single-entity supplier to Fonterra Co-operative Group . . . Norwegian dairy company TINE sold its 11% stake in Norwegian organic dairy company Rørosmeieriet to investment firm Salvesen & Thams(FoodBev.com, 7/7/20; Farmers Weekly, 7/6/20)

    FrieslandCampina is closing its Rijkevoort, Netherlands, manufacturing plant on Oct. 1. The facility makes film-ripened cheese and other products . . . NPC International, the largest Pizza Hut and Wendy’s franchisee, filed for bankruptcy protection. NPC, which was having difficulties prior to COVID, plans to reorganize around it’s Pizza Hut operations and sell its Wendy’s locations . . . Danone claims that its Wexford, Ireland, plant is the first carbon-neutral infant formula facility. Danone made a number of investments and upgrades over the past decade to earn the certification, which came from the Carbon Trust, an independent global climate change and sustainability consultancy. (Company reports; Wall Street Journal, 7/1/20)

    Danone allocated €100 million (about US$114 million) toward a series of projects in China to strengthen its Specialized Nutrition division. Investments include opening an “open science” research center in Shanghai, acquiring local infant formula capabilities and expanding capacity to develop foods for special medical purposes. Danone purchased Murray Goulburn Dairy (Qingdao) from Saputo Dairy Australia, giving it a registered infant formula brand and a facility in Qingdao, its first infant formula plant in China.The new Danone Open Science Research Center for Life-Transforming Nutrition in Shanghai will serve as the company’s platform to conduct studies and research, with a focus on breast milk and gut health. “Open science” refers to the concept of bringing together the public sector, medical and academic institutions, business partners and consumers to collaborate on the development of nutrition products and services. (Company reports)

    Ornua is spending $10 million to upgrade its Hilbert, Wis., cheese ingredients plant. The project will add 22,000 sq. ft. of warehousing and cooling capacity, “unlocking an additional 30% growth in production capacity,” Ornua says. The Hilbert site is one of two Ornua Ingredients North America facilities; the other is in Byron, Minn. The division supplies cheese ingredients for pizza, bakery applications, frozen meals and other processed products. The investment is a result of “a period of exceptional multi-year growth” for the division including a double-digit increase in sales in 2019. The company expects to complete the project in February 2021. (Company reports)

    Bega Cheese is slashing production of processed cheese slices. It currently manufactures the slices at plants in Bega, New South Wales, and Strathmerton, Victoria. It plans to transition production out of Bega. The company cited increased competition and reduced demand from consumers seeking more natural cheese products. (Company reports)

    A partnership between Fonterra Co-operative Group and Foodstuffs North Island introduced what they are calling 
    “the first carbon-zero milk in the southern Hemisphere.” The product, called Simply Milk, launched in New Zealand . . . French dairy giant Lactalis is closing manufacturing plants in Floreni and Vatra Dornei, Romania, to consolidate operations and improve competitiveness. Production will be transferred to other local Lactalis factories . . . Swedish dairy alternative manufacturer Oatley sold a $200-million minority stake in the company to investment firm Blackstone Growth and a group of celebrity investors . . . Ohio-based Superior Dairy is spending $25.5 million to expand production of cottage cheese, sour cream and cream products at its facility near Canton. The investment is part of a broader plan to “expand beyond the U.S. and ultimately feed the world” . . . Byrne Dairy is spending $28.5 million to expand its DeWitt, N.Y., manufacturing, adding aseptic processing capacity. (Company reports; FoodBev.com, 7/14/20; Cleveland Business Journal, 7/14/20; Syracuse.com, 7/14/20; SeeNews, 7/3/20)

    Fonterra narrowed its forecast farmgate milk price for 2019/20, lowering the midpoint to $7.15/kgMS. The co-op cited the strengthening New Zealand dollar vs. the U.S. dollar over the past two months as the reason for the adjustment. It also narrowed the forecast range for 2020/21, lifting the mid-point to $6.40/kgMS. Chief Executive Miles Hurrell cited improved market conditions in China for the increase, but cautioned that there was “still a high level of uncertainty in our global markets.” Hurrell also announced a series of investments during a China business summit in Auckland. He said the co-op was investing in a new R&D site in Shanghai and establishing a new application center in Wuhan in 2021. Expanding business to regional cities like Wuhan is key to Fonterra’s China strategy, Hurrell said. (Company reports; Xinhua, 7/20/20)

    Thai food and agriculture conglomerate CP Foods is reportedly negotiating with an unnamed Russian company to enter Russia’s dairy market. Media reports suggest Russian milk producer-processor EkoNiva may be a potential partner. CP already operates in the animal feed, pig and poultry sectors in Russia . . . Walmart resurrected plans to sell a majority stake in its UK grocery chain ASDA. The company is reportedly in talks with unnamed third-party investors. (Wall Street Journal, 7/20/20; TheDairyNews, 7/17/20)

    Kraft Heinz Co. is investing $48 million in its Springfield, Mo., facility. The plant makes Kraft Singles, natural cheese and mac & cheese . . . Australia-based “health-food company” Sanitarium plans to launch So Good Barista brand milk alternatives in Southeast Asia. The company is marketing the products as created to allow consumers to make coffeeshop beverages at home during times of restricted travel . . . Germany’s Meggle Group is restructuring its Croatian operations, including closing its manufacturing plant in Osijek by the end of the year. The company cited a series of business challenges in recent years, most recently COVID. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Food Business News, 7/16/20; Croatia Week, 7/16/20)

    Canada’s Saputo is retiring the Coon cheese brand. The Australian brand was named after cheesemaker Edward William Coon, but is also widely recognized as a racist term. “We believe we all share in the responsibility to eliminate racism in all its forms and we feel this is an important step we must take to uphold this commitment,” the company said. Saputo said it was developing a new brand name that honors the brand affinity felt by consumers but aligns with current attitudes and perspectives. (CNN, 7/24/20; Bloomberg, 7/23/20)

    Chilean meat producer Agrosuper signed partnership agreements with Chilean dairy processor Soprole (a subsidiary of Fonterra) and dairy and food manufacturer Watt’s to carry their products on its ecommerce channel lomejorencasa.cl . . . Malaysia’s Dutch Lady Milk Industries is paying $13 million for a 33-acre parcel of industrial land in Negeri Sembilan. It plans to build a new manufacturing plant on the land, but did not release a timeline . . . Kentucky-based Bluegrass Dairy and Food changed its name to Bluegrass Ingredients to “reflect the company’s evolution from a leading dairy powder producer to a research-driven specialty ingredient provider”. . . Malaysian agri-business FGV Holdings signed a deal with My Agro Hub Resources to market 30 tons/month of animal feed for dairy, beef and goat farmers and is looking for similar partnerships with small and medium size enterprises in Malaysia to extend its animal feed and nutrition businesses in the country . . . Nestlé is spending $167 million to expand its Purina pet food manufacturing operation in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and $66 million to expand its Blayney, New South Wales, Australia, Purina facility. (USDEC South America office; USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports)

    August-1

    Saputo is merging its two USA divisions, the Cheese Division (USA) and the Dairy Foods Division (USA), into a single division, now known as the Dairy Division (USA). The new Division will allow Saputo to have a more agile USA platform, aligned under a common strategy, and to be in a position to more efficiently serve its markets, given consumer habits and customer expectations can evolve at a rapid pace.To support the new organizational structure, the two leadership teams were combined into one management team led by Carl Colizza, who has been named president and COO, Dairy Division (USA). Colizza assumes this new role in addition to his current role as president and COO (North America), and continues to report to Kai Bockmann, president and COO, Saputo Inc. Terry Brockman has been named chief business officer, Dairy Division (USA).

    Danone added a new line to produce SMP at its facility in Yalutorovsk, Russia, in the west-central region of the country. In addition to domestic sales, the company says it is targeting exports to China and Kazakhstan . . . Lactalis American Group is spending $1.7 million to expand fresh mozzarella production at its Nampa, Idaho, cheese plant . . . Belarussian processor Pruzhansky Dairy added a whey processing line to manufacture 70% demineralized whey, with the capability to increase demineralization to 90% depending on market needs . . . Toni Brendish, chief executive of New Zealand’s Westland Milk, stepped down after leading the company for four years. China’s Yili Group owns Westland as well as New Zealand’s Oceania Dairy. Shiqing Jian, Yili director of Westland and Oceania, will take Brendish’s place . . . Majid Al Futtaim plans to open 15 new Carrefour stores across the GCC by the end of 2020. The stores will be a mix of hypermarkets, supermarkets and c-stores, concentrated in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. (USDEC Middle East office; New Zealand Herald, 8/4/20; Idaho Statesman, 8/3/20; The Dairy News, 7/31/20)

    A consortium of Brazilian dairy processors is purchasing a former Nestlé plant in Rio Grande do Sul that was shuttered a year ago. The plant will produce multiple dairy product lines, but the group says it also plans to turn it into one of the largest and most modern whey drying plants in Brazil . . . Saputo launched the Cathedral Cheese brand in Canada. The brand, acquired when Saputo purchased British dairy processor Dairy Crest, is manufactured in the UK at the former Dairy Crest plant in Davidstow . . . New Zealand’s A2 Milk named HanesBrands executive David Bortolussi as its new chief executive. He will replace interim CEO Geoffrey Babidge in February 2021 . . . State-run milk processor Dairy Farming Promotion Organization of Thailand (DPO) is building a new $3-million headquarters in Bangkok. DPO projects 2020 sales will rise 11% to $360 million. (USDEC South America office;

    Darigold has unveiled organizational changes to fast-track the transformation of its global ingredients business. An important element is the construction of a global ingredients plant. Darigold is expected to announce the plant site next year. Darigold appointed Matthew Sagendorf to lead the construction and manage the plant. The dairy cooperative also appointed Joe Coote as its global ingredients president and Duane Naluai as consumer products president. It promoted Grant Kadavy from his current role as COO to chief growth and risk officer. (Food Processing Technology, 8/17/20) 

    Dairy Farmers of America sits at the top of 
    a new list compiled by Dairy Foods magazine showing dairy companies and cooperatives in North America with the highest revenues in 2019. The magazine compiled a Top 100 list, but for the sake of brevity here are the top 10:     

    1. Dairy Farmers of America Inc.
    2. Saputo Inc.
    3. Nestlé, Zone Americas
    4. Danone North America
    5. Agropur
    6. Schreiber Foods Inc.
    7. Kraft Heinz Co.
    8. ConAgra Brands
    9. Prairie Farms Dairy Inc.
    10. Land O’Lakes Inc. and California Dairies Inc. (tie)
      (dairyfoods.com, 8/18/20) 

    Glanbia Nutritionals has announced the acquisition of Foodarom, a Canadian-based flavor designer and manufacturer serving the food and beverage industries … During the second quarter of this year, Vietnam’s Vinamilk reported nearly $671 million in net revenue, up almost 10% from the previous quarter. Vinamilk’s export activities recorded positive results, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, as the company pursued opportunities in the Middle East, China and South Korea … In Malaysia, Rhona Ma is introducing A2 milk to the local market … Italian Dairy Products has doubled the size of a cheese factory in the United Arab Emirates to 26,000 square feet, with an eye on expansion in the UAE and Gulf markets … New Zealand’s Fonterra has confirmed the appointment of Teh-han Chow to the role of CEO, Greater China … Keytone Dairy Corporation, based in Australia and New Zealand, has launched an Immunity Booster Powder product under its proprietary brand, KeyDairy, in response to market demand and interest from China and Southeast Asia following the COVID-19 pandemic ... Crystal Creamery in Modesto, Calif., has appointed Dennis Roberts as president and CEO … Denmark’s Arla Foods Ingredients has launched its first organic ingredient — MicelPure, a micellar casein isolate that is rich in native milk proteins, low in lactose and fat, heat-stable and taste-neutral. (DairyReporter.com, 8/10/20, 8/11/20, 8/13/20; 8/17/20; 8/18/20; dairyfoods.com, 8/18/20; Company reports) 

    Japan’s Kirin Holdings and China’s Mengniu Dairy halted plans for Mengniu to buy Kirin’s wholly owned Australian dairy firm Lion Dairy & Drinks. The decision came after Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government might block the Lion sale to Mengniu even though Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) already green-lighted the deal. The Treasury’s move is the latest fallout from rising political tensions tied to Australian criticism of China’s COVID response and Hong Kong crackdown as well as China’s trade sanctions on Australian beef and barley and anti-dumping probe on Australian wine. In July, Australia revamped its foreign investment laws, giving the treasurer last-resort powers (under the auspices of “national security”) to halt or impose conditions on foreign investment deals even after FIRB weighed in. Mengniu offered A$600 million (about US$433 million) for Lion, Australia’s No. 2 milk processor. Kirin said it would “continue to look for the best scenarios” for the Lion business. (Reuters, 8/24/20, 8/20/20; Nikkei Asian Review, 8/24/20; Financial Times, 8/20/20)

    New Zealand’s A2 Milk made a non-binding, NZ$270-million offer (about US$176-million) for a 75% stake in Mataura Valley Milk. A2 said it plans to establish canning and blending capacity at Mataura’s plant in Gore on New Zealand’s South Island, creating a fully integrated infant formula facility. The offer already has the approval of Mataura’s current majority shareholder China Animal Husbandry Group. China Animal Husbandry will maintain a 25% share in Mataura should the deal proceed. A2 said the agreement would not affect its current contract manufacturing deals with New Zealand processors Synlait Milk and Fonterra. A2 reported that sales to China almost doubled to NZ$338 million (about US$220 million) for its fiscal 2020 (year ending June 30). It said it expects continued strong revenue growth for 2020-21. (Inside FMCG, 8/23/20; Farmers Weekly, 8/21/20; Kalkine Media, 8/21/20)

    Switzerland’s Emmi increased its stake in Swiss goat cheese manufacturer Bettinehoeve from 60% to 90% . . . Australia’s Remarkable Milk Co. acquired the assets of Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia (ODFA), which entered receivership earlier this year. The deal includes ODFA’s manufacturing plant in Geelong, Victoria. (Company reports; Farm Online, 8/19/20)

    Infant formula and baby food marketer Bubs Australia entered into an agreement with China’s Beingmate for the Chinese dairy processor to manufacture Bubs goat milk infant formula in China . . . U.S. Pizza Hut franchisee NPC International plans to close up to 300 locations, most not well-suited for carryout and delivery. NPC is in the middle of a financial restructuring as part of an effort to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (Company reports; FoodBev.com, 8/24/20) 

    September-1

    Developing-nation dairy operations continue to make inroads on Rabobank’s annual Global Dairy Top 20 list. Some years ago, China’s Yili Group and Mengniu Dairy joined—and they’ve been working their way higher ever since. This year came the first dairy company from India: Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (known commonly as Amul, its flagship brand). Amul debuted at No. 16 leapfrogging Müller, Schreiber Foods, Kraft Heinz and Agropur. No company fell off the list. Rather, the bulk of Dean Foods’ revenues were rolled into new owner Dairy Farmers of America, pushing DFA to the No. 3 slot (Dean was ranked 11 last year). The list is measured by dairy turnover and is based on 2019 financial data but also takes into account merger and acquisition activity in the first half of 2020. The other largest moves include Yili’s jump into the top 5 (from No. 8 the previous year); Japan’s Meiji moving from 16 to 13; and Kraft Heinz falling from 14 to 18. Overall there was more jockeying for position than normal on the list, with three-quarters of the companies shifting places. Download the full report and more analysis from Rabobank here.

    Australian dairy co-op Norco and Bega Cheese each indicated they were considering potential offers for Kirin Holding’s Lion Dairy & Drinks business. Last week, Kirin’s deal to sell Lion to China’s Mengniu Dairy fell through after the Australian government came out against it. Other possible suitors are Coca-Cola Amatil, Freedom Foods and Saputo—companies who expressed interest when Kirin originally put Lion on the block. (Farm Online, 8/31/20)

    Tunisian processed cheesemaker Land’Or is spending €11 million (about US$13 million) to optimize and expand processed cheese operations at its plant south of Tunis and purchase equipment for a new facility going up in Kenitra, Morocco. The company expects the Kenitra facility, operated by its Moroccan subsidiary Land’Or Maroc Industries, will start production by the end of 2021. The plant will produce 2,700 tons of processed cheese triangles per year. (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 9/2/20)

    Dairy alternative brand Good Karma Foods reacquired the majority stake in the company that was owned by Dean Foods. The company also obtained additional capital from investment firm Valor Siren Ventures that it plans to use to accelerate distribution, product development and marketing . . . Missouri-based agribusiness company Bunge is investing C$30 million (about US$23 million) for a minority stake in Canada’s Merit Functional Foods. The investment will expedite construction at Merit’s plant-based protein plant in Manitoba, where the company plans to produce pea and canola protein ingredients for dairy alternatives and other food uses. (Company reports; Food Business News, 8/25/20)

    Yum China expects to raise $2.5 billion this week through a secondary listing on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. The company’s stock will continue trading on the NYSE as well . . . CP All, the retail arm of Thailand conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, secured a 30-year license to open and operate 7-Eleven convenience stores in Laos . . . Brazilian whey protein processor Sooro Renner Nutrição completed its first whey shipments to Asia and Chile as part of a plans to increase its focus on export markets. The company, which claims to be the first in Latin America to produce only whey, manufactures 50,000 tons per year of WPC34-80 at two plants and is in the midst of a project to increase capacity to a total of 230 tons per day. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; USDEC South America office; Wall Street Journal, 8/31/20; Mundo Maritimo, 8/28/20)

    Dutch dairy company FrieslandCampina has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Arabian Food Industries Company (Domty) to investigate joint cooperation in furthering cheese exports to Africa … China Feihe, one of China’s leading infant formula makers, has offered HK$3.07 billion (US$398.7 million) to purchase one of its top suppliers, YuanShengTai Dairy Farm … Australia’s Nature One Dairy has confirmed expanded usage of YPB’s CONNECT platform in its regional expansion through Southeast Asia. YPB CONNECT allows companies to obtain information from consumers and authenticate products through codes that consumers can utilize through their smartphones. (Daily News Egypt, 9/06/20; Business Times, 9/08/20; Company reports) 

    Denmark’s Arla Foods says in spite of the global coronavirus pandemic, its global branded sales volumes grew 10.4% in the first half of 2020 … Nestlé has appointed Mauricio Alarcon as new chief executive officer of Nestlé Central and West Africa … Uganda’s Pearl Dairy Farms, whose portfolio includes Lato Milk, has started exporting its products to Ethiopia, South Sudan and Malawi ... The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has announced a US$12.9 million loan to Land’Or, a Tunisian processed cheese maker. For details on Land’Or’s expansion activities in North Africa. (Company reports; GhanaWeb, 9/05/20; NilePost, 8/27/20; Food Business Africa.com, 9/08/20) 

    The U.S. arm of France’s Lactalis Group paid $3.2 billion for the lion’s share of Kraft Heinz’s U.S. and international cheese businesses. The deal should vault Lactalis past Nestlé to become the No. 1 dairy company in the world. The transaction includes Kraft Heinz’s natural, grated, cultured and specialty cheese businesses in the U.S., grated cheese business in Canada, and the entire international cheese business outside these two countries. Lactalis will assume ownership of Kraft cheese plants in Tulare, Calif.; Walton, N.Y.; and Wausau, Wis.; and a distribution facility in Weyauwega, Wis. Kraft Heinz will retain the Philadelphia Cream CheeseKraft SinglesVelveeta processed cheese and Cheez Whiz processed cheese businesses in the U.S. and Canada, the KraftVelveeta and Cracker Barrel mac & cheese businesses worldwide, and the Kraft sauces business worldwide. But the two companies will also partner on a “perpetual license” for certain Kraft and Velveeta products. The acquisition “will create important new opportunities for domestic and international expansion, product innovation and positive community and employee impact,” said Thierry Clément, CEO of Lactalis North America. Kraft Heinz sold to business as part of an effort to narrow down its product lines to focus on convenient meals and snacks. (Company reports; Wall Street Journal, 9/15/20)

    Nestlé announced plans to invest US$58 million in China on sustainable agriculture in the grain and dairy sectors. The dairy portion of the spend is to upgrade and expand the Nestlé Dairy Farming Institute (DFI) to strengthen its role in dairy farmer training and as a sustainable source of local milk, especially for Nestlé’s A2 dairy products. DFI projects are also aiming at reducing dairy farm greenhouse gas emissions and exploring opportunities for “carbon-neutral” milk. (Company reports)

    Fonterra Australia paid NZ$19 million (about US$13 million) for Aussie cheese converter Dairy Country. The deal includes grating, shredding and block plants in Campbellfield and Tullamarine, Victoria . . . Switzerland's Emmi purchased New York-based Indulge Desserts Intermediate Holdings(Company reports; Country News, 9/14/20)

    FrieslandCampina Ingredients plans to increase lactoferrin production seven-fold at its Veghel, Netherlands, plant, increasing production from 10 tons per year to 70 tons per year by 2022. It expects the project will bolster growth of its Early Life Nutrition and Adult Nutrition segments . . . Ireland’s Carbery Group is launching a new cheese brand specifically for foodservice markets in Europe and Asia. The line, Carbery Dairy, includes natural cheddar, pasta filata (mozzarella and “grilling cheese”), “Cheese Extra” (functional, high-protein and reduced-fat cheeses) and specialty cheeses . . . Latvian dairy processor Food Union Group reported its first export shipments to Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. The company sent 125 tons of ice cream and cheese products, with another 145 tons expected by the end of the year . . . Malaysia’s Dutch Lady Milk Industries reversed plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Negeri Sembilan, selling land it purchased for the facility earlier this year . . . Northern Irish yogurt maker Clandeboye Estate is investing £2 million (about US$2.6 million) to expand production and grow sales in international markets. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports; DairyReporter.com, 9/14/20)

    Innovation continues in foodservice chains despite the troubles caused by coronavirus. Burger King Mexico launched a new burger this week called the Tamarindo King, a sandwich specifically designed for Mexican tastes, seasoned with tamarind sauce and featuring U.S. Monterey Jack cheese. The company’s 430 Mexican outlets expect to sell almost 6,500 units per day, with the bulk of sales made through its home delivery system. Since the start of the pandemic, Burger King’s home delivery sales have tripled. Mexico represents 40% of the total Burger King sales in Latin America. (USDEC Mexico office)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra reported its first profit in three years, as efforts to shed underperforming assets and more conservative management efforts began to pay off. After losses of NZ$196 million and NZ$605 million in 2017/18 and 2018/19, respectively, the co-op reported an after-tax profit of NZ$659 million (about US$434 million) in the recently concluded year. Fonterra’s final milk price of NZ$7.14/kgMS was the highest in six years, topped off by a dividend of 5 cents per share. The dividend was at the low end of the projected range due to the “significant uncertainties” facing the world in the coming months. Work done to improve its balance sheet allowed the company to focus on managing COVID, CEO Miles Hurrell said. “Resilient” dairy demand in the face of COVID-19 challenges helped drive sales and profits. Sales growth and strong margins in the first half led its China foodservice business to gains despite second half coronavirus disruptions. Fonterra entered 50 new Chinese cities with its Anchor Food Professional product range over the past year. That being said, overall foodservice operations in Asia, Oceania and Latin America. recorded losses in the second half. In addition, Fonterra wrote down its New Zealand consumer business by NZ$21 million. The co-op’s efforts to dispose of assets away from its home base in New Zealand continue. It reduced its stake in China’s Beingmate from almost 19% to 9% and expects to sell the remaining shares over the next year. And it continues to look for buyers for its Dairy Partners Americas (DPA) Brazil joint venture with Nestlé and its Chinese dairy farming operations. (Company reports; Interest.co.nz, 9/21/20, Stuff.co.nz, 9/18/20)

    Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina plans to begin offering “On the Way to PlanetProof” certified milk from its farmers to other dairy processors. Products bearing the On the Way to PlanetProof seal (which is owned and administered by Dutch environmental organization SMK) must abide by a set of guidelines on milk quality, animal welfare, biodiversity and other sustainability measures (see an SMK infographic here). FrieslandCampina made the move to expand the availability of the certified milk due to consumer demand as well as rising interest from members who want to join the program as suppliers. Producers receive additional money for their sustainability efforts on top of the co-op’s milk price. (Company reports)

    According to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Coca-Cola may be considering investment in dairy facilities in Mexico. In addition, Coca-Cola committed to buy more inputs, including milk products, from local producers rather than importing, Obrador said. Coca-Cola did not confirm the statements . . . Dairy Industries Jamaica Ltd. (DIJL) formalized a partnership agreement with Nestlé Jamaica to produce Nestlé EveryDay milk powder at its Kingston facility. DIJL is a joint venture between GraceKennedy Ltd. and Fonterra . . . Lithuanian dairy processor Vilkyškiu Pienine changed its name to Vilvi Group to emphasize the company’s Vilvi brand, its primary export label. Vilvi sells to 58 countries and added Australia, Chile and China over the past year . . . New Jersey-based Finlandia Cheese will change its name to Valio USA effective Oct. 1, 2020. (USDEC Mexico office; Company reports; Jamaica Gleaner, 9/18/20) 

    October-1

    FrieslandCampina’s members’ council approved construction of a new Frisian Flag Indonesia dairy plant and distribution center and conversion of an existing Frisian Flag facility in the Jakarta region. The new facility will produce half a million tons of condensed and pasteurized milk annually, with capacity to expand to a million tons. Construction will kick off in April 2021. The company will concurrently convert an existing facility in Pasar Rebo, East Jakarta, into a production center for local infant nutrition brands marketed in Asia. Both projects should be complete in the first half of 2024 at a total cost of €250 million (about US$293 million). (Company reports)

    Nestlé inaugurated a new “R&D Accelerator” at its research and development center in Konolfingen, Switzerland, to help drive innovation in dairy products and plant-based dairy alternatives. The center will provide internal, external (start-ups, students) and mixed teams with access to key resources with the intent to move “novel ideas from concept to test shop in only six months.” Separately, Nestlé continues to roll out plant-based dairy alternatives. The latest is Nesquik, which the company is billing as combining “the goodness of oats and peas” and sustainably-sourced cocoa and containing less sugar than milk-based Nesquik. The EU launch (in Hungary, Portugal and Spain to start) follows the debut of Nestlé’s first fully pea-based beverage under the Nesfit label in Brazil. (Company reports)

    Singapore-based agribusiness Japfa is considering the sale of its Indonesian dairy business Greenfields(USDEC Southeast Asia office)

    Fonterra agreed to sell its China dairy farming operations for a total of NZ$555 million (about US$368 million). Inner Mongolia Natural Dairy is buying two farming hubs in Ying and Yutian for NZ$513 million, while Beijing Sanyuan Venture Capital is acquiring Fonterra’s 85% stake in its Hangu location. Beijing Sanyuan already owns 15% of the Hangu farm and exercised its first right of refusal on the buyout. “Selling the farms is in line with our decision to focus on our New Zealand farmers’ milk, Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell said. Fonterra plans to use the proceeds to pay down debt as well as strengthen its foodservice, consumer brands and ingredients businesses in China, Hurrell added. (Company reports; CNN Business, 10/5/20)

    Latvian dairy processor Food Union completed a new €5.5-million (about US$6.5-million) curd snack production line at its JSC Rīgas Piena Kombināts facility. The plant will manufacture Kārums brand curd snacks for export markets and has been designed for flexibility to produce new products “in the near future,” the company says. The curd snack line is part of Food Union’s larger “Center of Excellence” project for fresh dairy product production. (Company reports)

    Danone sold its 6.61% stake in Yakult Honsha for ¥58 billion (about US$549 million). Existing commercial partnerships with Yakult, including joint-ventures in India and Vietnam, remain in place . . . Indonesian food and beverage maker PT Garudafood Putra Putri Jaya plans to buys a majority stake in PT Mulia Boga Raya, producer of Prochiz processed cheese. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Company reports)

    Danone announced that it is accelerating “an ambitious plan” to counter the challenges and capitalize on growth opportunities emerging from “a new COVID-world.” The company reorganized leadership under two macro-regional CEOs in charge of Danone International and Danone North America, and a COO in charge of a newly created strategic end-to-end production system to serve shifting markets more nimbly and in a cost-efficient manner given the pandemic. It is also conducting a full strategic review of its portfolio of brands, SKUs and assets to support its 3-5% growth agenda, starting with its Vega brand in Argentina. The company is making the move because it believes it has collected enough insights on how COVID-19 is structurally affecting the food and beverage industry, consumers and supply chains, so it can shift the way it operates to accommodate the new reality.

    Foremost Farms USA sold its Preston, Minn., separating, condensing and drying facility to Missouri-based Diversified Ingredients. Diversified will operate the plant as a joint venture with Iowa-based Johnson Farms. The new entity will be called Preston Protein Products . . . Synlait Milk’s Dairyworks unit sold its Deep South ice cream operations to New Zealand food company Talley’s Group. Dairyworks said it made the move as part of a broader plan to focus on its core cheese, yogurt and butter businesses. (Wisconsin State Farmer, 10/20/20; Reuters, 10/18/20)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group entered into a sales and marketing partnership with Land O’Lakes. The agreement focuses on Fonterra’s foodservice business: Land O’Lakes will distribute, promote and sell Fonterra cooking creams and cream cheese. “In the future, we will look to expand our relationship into other categories such as cheese products,” said Fonterra Global Director of Foodservice Paul Harvey. (Company reports)

    USDEC’s Middle East/North Africa (MENA) office reports that at least two food companies in the region are seeking dairy suppliers for new products they are developing. Jordanian snack and beverage maker Defaf Al-Nahrayn Co. (DNC) is looking for suppliers of cheese powders. Saudi Arabia’s United National Dairy is looking for a cream supplier for a Turkish labneh it’s working on, as well as SMP for a yogurt expansion and cheese blocks for further processing. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office)

    UK food Ingredients group HMS acquired cheese converter Tom Walker & Son. Tom Walker will operate as a standalone business from its factory and offices near Stockton-on-Tees in northeast England. (DairyReporter.com, 10/26/20)

    MILEI, the German subsidiary of Japan’s Morinaga Milk Industry, is spending $17 million to more than double lactoferrin capacity at its Leutkirch, Germany, plant, reaching 170 tons per year. The company plans to complete the project in April 2021 . . . Lactalis is closing its Retiers, France, soft cheese plant in 2023 due its aging condition and softness in the market. The company operates several other facilities in and around Retiers . . . Oman’s Mazoon Dairy is conducting trials on processed cheese products at the plant it opened last November. It hopes to introduce the product before the end of the year . . . Chinese regulators approved three Serbian dairy processors—ImlekMeggle Serbia and Somboled—to export to China . . . Fonterra put plans for a new NZ$40-million (about US$27-million) wastewater treatment plant for its Hautapu manufacturing plant on hold after feedback from groups living near the planned Waikato, North Island site. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Company reports; Stuff.co.nz, 10/28/20; SeeNews, 10/23/20) 

    November-1

    New Zealand's Synlait Milk announced two positive developments for the company this week: It signed a deal to manufacture, blend and package nutrition products for an unnamed "global category leader" and reached an agreement that settles a land dispute that threatened its new Pokeno, North Island, facility. Synlait says the contract manufacturing deal will give it broader market and category exposure in Asia Pacific, and plans to invest NZ$70 million (about US$47 million) over the next two years to upgrade the Pokeno plant to handle the job. As Synlait was completing the Pokeno plant last year, the company was hit with what was essentially a zoning dispute that had the potential to upend the investment. The case was still in the court system. This week, the company reached a settlement on the lawsuit stemming from the dispute, removing a significant unknown for the business and clearing the way for further investment at the plant. (BusinessDesk, 11/6/20; ShareChat, 11/5/20)

    Belje Plus, a unit of Croatian retail, food and agriculture business Fortenova Group, purchased the Meggle Croatia dairy plant in Osijek, Croatia. Meggle announced earlier this year that it intended to close the Osijek plant as part of a restructuring of operation in that country. (Croatia Week, 10/28/20)

    Glanbia plc said its new joint-venture cheese plant with Leprino Foods in Portlaoise, Ireland, is at an “advance stage” of construction and should be ready for commissioning in the first half of 2021 . . . Ornua Foods UK is spending £3 million (about US$3.9 million) to add cheese cutting and packing equipment to its Leek plant. The investment includes a new high-speed cheese slicing line and cheese grating capacity that will lift annual output by 7,000 tons to more than 110,000 . . . The International Dairy Federation (IDF) elected Piercristiano Brazzale to replace outgoing president Judith Bryans . . . Illinois-based Hispanic cheesemaker Nuestro Queso is spending $15 million to expand processing and packaging capacity and cooling space at its Kent, Illinois, facility to meet demand growth. (Company reports)

    Kirin Holdings reportedly received three bids for its Australian Lion Dairy and Drinks business. The suiters are dairy companies Saputo and Bega Cheese and asset manager Tanarra Capital, according to Australian Financial Review . . . Ireland’s Kerry Group acquired Bio-K Plus International, a Canadian maker of probiotic fermented beverages and supplements . . . Applebee’s franchisee Flynn Restaurant Group offered $816 million for bankrupt Pizza Hut and Wendy’s franchisee NPC international. NPC operates 1,300 units. The offer is considered a “stalking horse bid,” so other suitors will be able to counter. (just-food.com, 11/12/20; Restaurant Business, 11/6/20; Food Business Review, 11/5/20)

    New Zealand’s Synlait Milk plans to raise NZ$200 million, largely from its two largest investors A2 Milk and China’s Bright Dairy Holdings, to customize its Pokeno and Auckland sites to service a new multinational customer . . . Richard Wyeth will take over as CEO of New Zealand’s Westland Dairy on Feb. 22, 2021, replacing interim chief Shiqing Jian. Westland is owned by China’s Yili Group . . . Finland’s Valio signed a contract manufacturing deal under which Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina will make Valio cottage cheese for sale in Russia. FrieslandCampina operates a plant in the Moscow region; Valio has a series of contract packing deals for products in Russia . . . Australian-Kiwi nutritional products maker Keytone Dairy signed a contract manufacturing deal with New Zealand retailer Foodstuffs to supply SMP and WMP under the retailer’s own-brand products. (BusinessDesk, 11/10/20; The Market Herald, 11/9/20; The Dairy News, 11/6/20; New Zealand Herald, 11/5/20)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group sold its 50% stake in feed joint venture Agrifeeds to joint venture partner Wilmar International. The co-op has been under fire for years from environmental groups who say palm kernel expeller (PKE) from Agrifeeds and others contributes to rainforest destruction in Indonesia. In 2017, it instituted a fat grading system to discourage PKE use by its members. Despite the sale, Fonterra will remain the exclusive retailer of Agrifoods’ PKE products through its Farm Source stores. (Dairy News, 11/16/20)

    Walmart sold its third international store chain since October, in an accelerated push to disengage from brick-and-mortar stores and focus on ecommerce. This week, it sold 65% of its stake in Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu GK to private equity firm KKR. Walmart will retain a 15% share. The deal follows Walmart’s early November sale of its Argentine business (90 stores) to Grupo de Narváez, which operates stores in Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay and the sale of UK grocery chain ASDA in October to a private investment group. (USDEC South America office; Wall Street Journal, 11/16/20)

    Ireland's Carbery Group completed a €78-million (about US$92-million) cheese expansion at its Ballineen, County Cork, headquarters. The plant will initially focus on manufacturing mozzarella and “grilling cheese” for Asia (mainly China and Japan) and mainland Europe . . . Lactalis plans to double annual capital investment in its Indian operations to around $13 million starting next year. The main portion of the funds will go toward erecting a new milk powder plant. Lactalis also launched Lactel brand UHT toned milk in India . . . Unilever set a target of €1 billion (about US$1.2 billion) in annual sales from plant-based meat and dairy alternatives in the next five to seven years—a five-fold increase over current levels. (Agriland, 11/19/20; Livemint, 11/18/20; Wall Street Journal, 11/17/20; The Hindu, 11/12/20)

    December-1

    Australia’s Bega Cheese will pay A$534 million (about US$393 million) for Lion Dairy and Drinks. The deal significantly expands Bega’s capacity, increasing milk intake by 75% and lifting total revenue to more than A$3 billion (about US$2.2 billion). Bega gains 13 processing sites, a range of well-known Australian dairy brands (Dairy FarmersDareBig MFarmers Union, etc.) and a contract to manufacture and distribute Yoplait yogurt in Australia and parts of Southeast Asia. It also gains a stake in joint venture plant-based beverage maker Vitasoy Australia. (Farm Online, 11/26/20)

    Colombian dairy processor Alpina purchased a 60% stake in Colombian specialized nutrition manufacturer Boydorr SAS . . . NPC International, the largest U.S. franchisee of Pizza Hut and Wendy’s, canceled auctions of its assets set for the last two weeks and is reportedly looking to accept Flynn Restaurant Group’s bid for the company. Wendy’s Co. has opposed the sale to Flynn and made its own offer to buy NPC’s 400 Wendy’s units. The two sides are reportedly in talks . . . Nestlé sold its Yinlu peanut milk and rice porridge businesses (including five manufacturing plants) in China to Food Wise Co., but retained its ready-to-drink Nescafé coffee business. Yinlu will continue to manufacture Nescafé RTD products for Nestlé. (USDEC South America office; Company reports, Wall Street Journal, 11/30/20)

    Mexican dairy processor Grupo Lala is selling its Costa Rican manufacturing plant and distribution center and exiting the country. It plans to reallocate capital from Costa Rica to operations in Nicaragua and Guatemala, “where there is more potential to achieve sustainable and profitable growth” . . . McDonald’s plans to spend $381 million over the next three years to add McCafé operations to 2,500 of its restaurants in China . . . An Omani-Saudi joint venture plans to build seven food and beverage plants in Oman’s new Khazaen Economic City, a purpose-built business center located between Muscat and Sohar Port. The joint venture’s plans include a confectionery factory and a plant for baby-related products. (USDEC Mexico office; USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Company reports; Caixin, 11/23/20)

    Singapore agri-food company Japfa is selling 80% of its Greenfields dairy business to affiliates of investment firms TPG and Northstar Group. Greenfields is a vertically integrated, branded dairy products manufacturer with subsidiaries in Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The buyers are paying an estimated US$236 million. Japfa will maintain a 20% stake and a hand in managing the business. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; The Straits Times, 12/7/20)

    FrieslandCampina is discontinuing powder production at its Dutch plants in Dronrijp and Gerkesklooster and closing its Yoko Cheese cheese packaging facility in Genk, Belgium, as part of a broader production optimization project. The whey and milk powder tower at Gerkesklooster will close Jan 15, 2021 (but the plant will continue to make cheese), while Dronrijp operations will cease in April 2022. The Genk facility will close at the end of 2021. Most operations will transfer to other locations. (Company reports)

    German milk processor Uelzena plans to build a new spray-drying plant at its Uelzen site in Lower Saxony. The 26,000-sq.-ft. facility will focus on spray-drying baby food components. The company expects to lay foundations next month and start operations in summer 2022 . . . Starbucks plans to open 22,000 new stores by 2030, including smaller units, stores with curbside pickup areas and in other non-traditional formats. Current store count is about 33,000. (CNN Business, 12/9/20; FoodBev.com, 12/7/20)

    Nestlé is launching a new milk product in China that it says supports bone health, muscle strength and joint flexibility in aging adults. The company says YIYANG Active brand is clinically proven to enhance mobility. When combined with tailored physical activity YIYNG Active “led to a significant increase in mobility of Chinese seniors with joint discomfort and thus improved their quality of life,” Nestlé said. It will be the first Nestlé product with functional food approval in China. (Company reports)

    China’s Mengniu Dairy paid 3 billion yuan (about US$458 million) to increase its stake in Chinese cheese and dairy processor Shanghai Milkground Food Tech from 5% to nearly 24% . . . Privately owned Dutch dairy processor Royal A-ware plans to take over FrieslandCampina’s milk powder towers in Aalter, Belgium. The towers can produce 45,000 tons per year. FrieslandCampina will continue producing other products in Aalter and both companies said they plan to invest in the site . . . Switzerland’s Emmi is selling its 80% majority stake in Spanish goat cheese producer Lácteos Caprinos S.A. to Lácteas García Baquero S.A. (Company reports; Caixin, 12/14/20)

    Nestlé, Fonterra Co-operative Group and DairyNZ are teaming up on a seven-year project to incorporate plantains into dairy cow feeding systems. The partners believe the project will help improve waterways and reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions . . . Israel-based Remilk raised $11 million to back a cow-less dairy plan. The company uses a microbial fermentation process to create milk proteins that it then turns into dried powder for use in a variety of dairy and food products. Among its investors are Israeli dairy manufacturer Tnuva and German dairy processor Hochland. (The Times of Israel, 11/13/20)

    Mark O'Keefe is vice president of editorial services at the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

     Subscribe to the U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog to get articles like this delivered to your inbox as soon as we publish.   


    The U.S. Dairy Export Council fosters collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to enhance global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients. USDEC is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff. How to republish this post.  

    Company News
Subscribe to get email updates

10 Most Recent Posts

Most Popular Posts in Past Year

Index of Posts by Date, Author

Archives (by date)

+ more archives