The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • USDEC's Mid-Year 2022 Global Dairy Business Review

    By Tom Quaife July 1, 2022

    Our month-by-month summary of mergers, acquisitions, expansions, executive hires and other global dairy business news for the first half of 2022.


    Dairy Business News (350 × 350px)

    Across the international dairy sector, business activity has been brisk this year, as one can see from the U.S. Dairy Export Council's Mid-Year 2022 Global Dairy Business Review. 

    USDEC monitors global dairy business developments for our members and curates them for our weekly, members-only newsletter, Global Dairy eBrief. We aggregate and summarize what's most relevant for this retrospective review we publish twice a year.

    We started this review with items from the January 7 Global Dairy eBrief and ended with news from the June 24 edition. This is a fast-paced yet lengthy review. We put company names in bold for easy scanning and searching.

    What follows is a one-of-a-kind, archival summary of global dairy business developments for the first half of 2022, presented in month-by-month chronological order. Think of it as the global dairy business news that was.

    Look for the full-year 2022 Global Dairy Business Review in January.  


    Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina plans to sell its Friso infant nutrition business in a deal worth up to $2.5 billion. FrieslandCampina markets the brand in 25 nations, but its specialized nutrition division (which includes Friso) has underperformed of late. … Belgioioso Cheese is spending an estimated $6 million to turn a Glanville, N.Y., warehouse into a new cold storage facility. The facility will complement Belgioioso’s Glenville cheese plant that opened in 2020. (Reuters, 12/21/21; The Daily Gazette, 12/13/21)

    Darigold President and CEO Stan Ryan is retiring at the end of the co-op’s fiscal year ending March 31, 2022. Joe Coote, president of the company’s Global Ingredients Division, will replace Ryan as CEO. Allan Huttema, Darigold’s chairman, called Ryan a “game-changing and transformative leader” since he took the reins in 2016. “Under his leadership, our co-op significantly improved its performance, advanced its modernization and growth, re-established its brand and customer franchise, initiated the largest capital investments in our history to solidify the co-op, and built and strengthened internal teams to make Darigold a more formidable competitor at home and on the global stage,” Huttema said. Coote, who joined Darigold in late 2020, plans to continue the co-op’s international expansion. He has extensive experience leading international organizations, including 14 years in senior leadership positions in global and domestic dairy. He assumes leadership as the co-op prepares to break ground on a new dairy processing facility in Pasco, Wash., and rebuilds its butter and milk powder facility in Caldwell, Idaho, which suffered extensive fire damage in October. (Company reports)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra and Dutch dairy processor Royal A-ware plan to significantly expand their joint production site in Heerenveen, Netherlands. The site features side-by-side plants: an A-ware cheese facility and a Fonterra factory making whey products and other ingredients. The project aims to increase cheese capacity from 200,000 MT per year to 300,000 MT, as well as add capacity for new products, including milk powder, lactoferrin and butter. (VeldPost, 1/3/22; Food Holland, 12/31/21)

    Papa John’s International signed a development agreement with private equity firm FountainVest Partners under which FountainVest will open more than 1,350 stores in South China by 2040. It is the largest franchise development agreement in Papa John’s history. In December, FountainVest announced that it had acquired China Food & Beverage Group, a Papa John’s franchisee in China that operates 160 Papa John’s stores in Shanghai and southern regions. The pizza chain has about 200 total units in China currently. (Restaurant Dive, 1/7/22)

    Saputo announced the retirement of President and COO Kai Bockmann effective March 4 … Two more dairy companies launched plant-based versions of their standard cheese lines. Mondelez International rolled out an oat-and-almond version of its Philadelphia cream cheese in the UK, while Bel Group introduced a coconut-oil-and-starch-based version of its Babybel line, also in the UK. … Indian snack company Haldiram’s Nagpur is entering the dairy sector, investing $14 million to build a long-shelf-life dairy manufacturing facility to produce buttermilk, lassi and other products. (Company reports;, 1/10/22, 1/6/22, 1/5/22)

    Ireland’s Supreme Court did not issue a decision on Glanbia’s bid to build a new joint venture cheese manufacturing plant in Belview, County Kilkenny. Irish environmental watchdog An Taisce has been seeking to stop construction on the plant for quite some time, delaying the project by two years and counting. The Supreme Court challenge was the group’s latest bid. Glanbia and Dutch joint-venture partner Royal A-ware said they remained committed to the project. The court reserved judgement after proceedings this week and did not say when it would issue a decision on the matter. (Agriland, 1/14/22)

    The trend of Chinese investment in cheese continues. Construction on Shanghai Milkground’s $125-million cheese manufacturing and innovation center in Jinshan Industrial Zone is underway. The 550,000-sq.-ft. facility will produce lollipop-style cheese snacks, high-calcium cheese slices and cheese cups for children and serve as an R&D center. China’s Mengniu Dairy is Shanghai Milkground’s largest stakeholder. China’s Panda Dairy Corp. launched a six-item processed cheese line for retail sales. The line includes lollipop-shaped cheese snacks for children (in shelf-stable and refrigerated versions), seaweed-filled cheese and cheese slices. (USDEC China office)

    Bord Bia, Ireland’s state-funded food board, will lead a promotional campaign for EU ag products, including dairy, in Asia and other target export markets. The dairy portion of the campaign will focus on Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam using the tagline “European Dairy—The Sustainable Choice for Asia.” Dairy activities will receive €3.2 million (about US$3.6 million) from the total promotional budget of €13.7 million (about US$15.6 million). (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Board Bia)

    Brazil’s Unium Group, the processing arm of dairy cooperatives Frisia, Castrolanda and Capal, is building an R$460-million (about US$83 million) cheese, whey and butter plant in Ponta Grossa, Paraná. … Indonesian confectionery and drink maker Mayora Indah earmarked $70 million for 2022 capital spending projects, including for a new manufacturing plant. The company offered no further details on the facility. … Japan’s Meiji is making progress on its new yogurt, cream and pasteurized milk plant in Tianjin, China. The company expects the $300-million facility (its second facility in China) will begin commercial production in 2023. … Nestlé’s new Nestlé Milk Berries milk powder, launched recently in China, is part of the company’s efforts to appeal to local tastes by developing products featuring traditional Chinese ingredients—in this case, wolfberries (also known as goji berries). The product has three ingredients: milk powder, wolfberries and vitamin E. (USDEC South America office; USDEC Southeast Asia office; USDEC China office)

    Unilever is restructuring its business into five distinct business groups, including two that cover all its food operations: nutrition and ice cream. The company, which has come under fire from investors for underperformance, says the new organization will allow it “to be more responsive to consumer and channel trends.” The restructuring includes cutting 1,500 management positions. … Unilever also reportedly inaugurated its $112-million ice cream plant expansion in China’s Jiangsu Province. The plant was built in 1996 and expanded twice before in 2003 and 2013. … China’s Yili Group opened its new fluid milk plant in Inner Mongolia. The massive 1.5-million sq.-ft. facility features 22 production lines. … The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) gave a €3.5-million loan (about US$3.9 million) to Moroccan processed cheesemaker Land’Or. The money is earmarked for additional equipment and a storage expansion at the company’s new cheese plant in Kenitra, Morocco. … Colombian dairy processor Alpina rolled out a new line of freeze-dried cheese snacks manufactured with Canada-based EnWave’s “Radiant Energy Vacuum” technology. The company is marketing the line as a nutritious snack for the health conscious. It comes in three flavors: parmesan, edam and Sopó (a domestic variety similar to parmesan). (USDEC China office; Company reports; EBRD; Reuters, 1/25/22)

    February-3Dutch dairy processor Royal A-ware and trading company Hoogwegt signed a long-term partnership agreement in which Hoogwegt will market milk powder and cream manufactured at A-ware’s plant in Aalter, Belgium. A-ware said the deal will give the company direct access to Hoogwegt’s worldwide network. Hoogwegt said it will give the company a stable source of powder and cream to market to companies in Europe and abroad. (Company reports)

    French dairy processor Sodiaal is closing two dairy plants in France: a UHT milk operation in Loire-Atlantique and an ingredients facility in Saône-et-Loire. The company blamed the decision on declining sales, particularly—in the case of the ingredient facility—for demineralized whey for infant products. The company also announced plans to spend €450 million (about US$508 million) over the next five years on a wider restructuring plan that expands production of cheese, premium milk, butter, cream and fresh dairy products and another €150 million (about US$169 million) to diversify and “move up-market” on dairy ingredients. (, 2/2/22)

    Italy-based cheesemaker Fratelli Amodio is building a fresh mozzarella operation in Somerset, UK, to bypass costly post-Brexit tariffs. The line will produce 1.5 MT of mozzarella per day, but the system’s versatility and modular nature will allow the company to produce additional varieties and expand production as demand grows. … Ireland’s Kerry Group opened a new 21,500-sq.-ft. product innovation addition to its facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The company plans to use the facility to create products adapted to local tastes to help food and beverage companies meet the growing consumer demand in the region for healthier and more sustainable food and beverages, particularly in snack, meat and bakery sectors. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Company reports;, 1/26/22)

    Canada-based Saputo is investing C$169 million (about US$133 million) to modernize and expand cheese manufacturing plants in California and Wisconsin and support growth in the retail sector. The company expects to start the projects in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022 and complete them in two years. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Saputo plans to streamline operations at two manufacturing facilities in Australia and “right-size its footprint” at its West Coast cut-and-wrap operations by closing its Bardsley Street facility in Tulare, California, in 2023. Saputo called the announcement “the first in a series of investments and consolidation activities.” (Company reports)

    Darigold resumed partial butter production at its Caldwell, Idaho, plant. A fire forced the plant’s closure last October. Prior to the incident, the plant processed 1.4 million lbs. of milk per day. Repair and cleaning work continues on other parts of the facility where damage was more severe. Milk powder production remains entirely shut down. (Company reports)

    Lactalis CEO Philippe Palazzi left the company effective Feb. 3. He held the position for less than two years. Reports indicate a disagreement over company strategy caused the split. A replacement has yet to be named. … German biotech companies Formo Bio and Brain Biotech formed a partnership to scale up production of animal-free milk proteins. Formo plans to scale up its milk protein production using Brain Biotech’s genome editing technology. … FrieslandCampina Engro, the Pakistan-based arm of the Dutch dairy giant, joined with Pakistan’s University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences to launch the Pakistan-Netherlands Dairy Development Centre (NDDC). The center will focus on sharing Dutch dairy expertise with Pakistani dairy stakeholders through conferences, training, research projects and other activities. … Fast-food chain Arby’s, owned by Inspire Brands, signed an exclusive development agreement with Shahia Foods Ltd. to launch and develop the brand in Saudi Arabia. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Company reports;, 2/8/22; Food Dive, 2/7/22)

    Arla Foods plans to spend €600 million (about US$680 million) this year in structural investments. Projects include expanding Starbucks production capacity at its Esbjerg, Denmark, facility, finishing a new powder tower in Pronsfeld, Germany, completing a mozzarella expansion at Branderup, Denmark, and expanding production at Arla Foods Ingredients sites. The company also said it plans to invest further in “digitalization solutions” in the supply chain. (Company reports)

    Vertically integrated Qatari dairy firm Baladna formed a partnership with the Philippine Departments of Agriculture and Trade and Industry to build an integrated milk production and dairy processing operation in the Philippines. The US$500-million project reportedly will produce 125,000 MT of raw milk per year. The Department of Agriculture has identified five potential sites for the project. Baladna representatives are expected to conduct site visits in the coming weeks. This is the third major foreign investment Baladna has announced in the past seven months. The company signed a similar deal for an integrated milk/dairy operation in Malaysia last August and announced its intention to build in Ukraine in October. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; Philippine News Agency, 2/14/22)

    China’s Junlebao Dairy paid $32 million for a 20% stake of two subsidiaries of South China Royal Group, a producer of buffalo milk products. … Ireland’s Kerry Group acquired German bioactive compound manufacturer c-LEcta and Mexican enzyme maker Enmex in a bid to deepen its investments in the food and pharmaceutical biotech sector. The company said it sees enzymes playing a critical role in helping “to create a world of sustainable nutrition.” (USDEC China office; Irish Farmers Journal, 2/15/22)

    Ireland’s Ornua is expanding its export portfolio in the Middle East/North Africa. The company will begin shipping Kerrygold 100g butter sticks to Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Ornua will also ship a range of flavored string cheeses for use in stuffed-crust pizzas and other dishes to quick-service restaurants in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. … Mexican retailer Chedraui plans to open 31 new stores in Mexico in 2022. (USDEC Mexico office; Agriland, 2/13/22)

    After years of court battles over its environmental impact, Glanbia Ireland and Royal A-ware finally earned a green light to build a joint-venture cheese plant in Belview, Kilkenny, Ireland. The five-member Irish Supreme Court unanimously dismissed an appeal by Irish environmental watchdog An Taisce to halt the project. The court ruled that the group had overstepped its bounds in assessing indirect environmental impacts from the plant, such as potential environmental damage caused by the farms producing milk to supply the facility. The court said such projections are “elusive, contingent and speculative” and beyond An Taisce’s Environmental Impact Assessment directive. After the verdict, Glanbia said it was committed to getting the plant into production as soon as possible. The €140-million (about US$159-million) facility, which first received planning-commission approval in 2019 (before being stalled by a series of An Taisce challenges), will produce edam and gouda cheeses and is part of Glanbia’s effort to diversify its reliance on the UK market in a post-Brexit world. (The Irish Times, 2/16/22; RTE News, 2/16/22)

    A new joint venture from Kraft Heinz and plant-based startup TheNotCompany (NotCo) says it plans to “develop superior plant-based versions of co-branded products at a level of speed, taste, quality and scale yet to be seen in the industry.” The new entity, The Kraft Heinz Not Company, will operate under the control of Kraft Heinz using NotCo technology. While cheese and dairy were not specifically mentioned, the companies said the new company would focus on “plant-based innovation across numerous Kraft Heinz product categories.” (Company reports)

    Chinese dairy processor Beingmate is expanding its Tianjin plant. The company will add capacity for 5,000 MT of organic milk powder, 5,000 MT of dairy-based nutritional products and 10,000 MT of goat’s milk infant formula. … Starbucks opened its 1,000th store in the Middle East/North Africa region after cutting the ribbon on a new unit in Dubai. It took the chain 22 years to reach the milestone in partnership with its sole franchisee Alshaya Group. … China Post, China’s state-owned postal-services provider, opened its first coffee shop last week in the coastal city of Xiamen. With 54,000 existing China Post outlets, the operation has the potential to quickly scale up should it opt to pursue in the business. (USDEC China office; USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; South China Morning Post, 2/23/22)

    March-Jun-23-2022-12-50-07-28-PMCiting the “rapidly changing situation and sanctions being taken against the country,” New Zealand’s Fonterra suspended dairy exports to Russia. New Zealand’s main dairy export to Russia is butterfat. In 2019-2020, Russia accounted for 5-6% of Kiwi butterfat shipments or about 25,500 MT per year. In 2021, volume fell by almost half to 13,420 MT. The company has seven people based in Moscow at its Fonterra Russia business and 35 in St. Petersburg at its Unifood joint venture. Both companies were reportedly still operating at press time. Conditions are changing rapidly in the region. But at press time, French dairy giant Lactalis had halted operations at one of its three Ukraine factories and slowed production at the other two plants. The Ukraine plant in Nikolaev was shut down due to its proximity to combat zones. Plants in Shostka and Pavlograd had to reduce output due to significant cutbacks in milk deliveries. The company’s Ukraine plants serve domestic markets but also export to other countries in the region like Georgia and Moldova. Lactalis said it was closely monitoring its sites and employees based in Russia. (, 2/28/22;, 2/28/22)

    Vertically integrated Malaysian dairy producer/processor Farm Fresh plans to go public with a listing on the Bursa Malaysia stock exchange. It is looking to raise RM1 billion (about US$238 million) to expand export operations first to Hong Kong, then to the broader region, including Indonesia and the Philippines. … Oman’s Mazoon Dairy signed a distribution deal with Dubai-based Ghassan Aboud Group. Ghassan Aboud will begin distributing Mazoon’s entire product line—including milk, cheese, ice cream and other items—in the UAE. (USDEC Southeast Asia office; USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Company reports)

    A growing list of companies with business in Russia are halting or suspending operations—in whole or in part—in protest of the country’s war on Ukraine.

    • Denmark-based Arla Foods suspended all operations, including exports.
    • Finland’s Valio closed its processed cheese plant near Moscow after earlier halting exports to Russia as well as imports of ingredients and packaging materials from Russia.
    • France’s Danone suspended investment projects in Russia, but said it would continue production and distribution of dairy products and infant formula to meet the population’s essential food needs.
    • McDonald’s temporarily closed 847 company-owned stores in Russia and 108 units in Ukraine.
    • PepsiCo said it would suspend all investment in Russia and all sales of beverages, but would continue to operate its Russian dairy business in part to support its 20,000 Russian employees and 40,000 ag workers who supply the operations.
    • Starbucks temporarily closed its 130 stores, which are operated by franchisee Alshaya Group, based in Kuwait.
    • Yum Brands Inc. is pausing Russian investment and suspending operations at all 50 Pizza Hut stores (in partnership with its master franchisee) and 70 company-owned KFC stores.
    • A number of other U.S. foodservice chains, including Subway, Papa John's and Domino's, are redirecting their profits from Russian operations to support humanitarian efforts. But because their businesses in Russia are franchised (and supplies usually sourced independent of the franchisor), they cannot shut the operations down without the franchisees' cooperation. (AP, 3/9/22; Nation's Restaurant News, 3/9/22; Reuters, 3/8/22; Dow Jones Newswires, 3/7/22;, 3/7/22)

    New Zealand's Fonterra Co-operative Group and India's Future Consumer Ltd. decided to end their Indian joint venture: Fonterra Future Dairy. Fonterra cited business disruptions caused by the pandemic as the reason. It said it would continue to operate in India through its Anchor Food Professionals foodservice arm and its ingredients business. ... Danone reportedly reached a strategic cooperation agreement with China-based infant formula, rice powder and nutritional supplement maker Eurbest Nutritional Food. Danone said it plans to “invest and develop” Eurbest’s infant formula factory and products. … Qatari dairy company Baladna paid QAR67 million (about US$18 million) for a 5% stake in Egyptian dairy, juice and cooking product company Juhayna Food Industries. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Company reports;, 3/7/22)

    UAE-based dairy company Al Rawabi plans to build a $177-million dairy complex in the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad). The operation will include a 10,000-cow farm, feed factory, processing plant and other support facilities. With the additional capacity and the logistical benefits of the Kizad location, the company expects to increase its export business, with a focus on the GCC and Africa. Al Rawabi expects to produce 24,000 tons of finished products during its first year of operations. The company did not report what types of products the plant would produce. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office;, 3/14/22)

    FountainVest Partners, which purchased Dairy Queen franchisee CFB Group late last year, plans to open 600 Dairy Queen units in China by 2030. CFB already operates 900 Dairy Queen stores in China, which is the fastest-growing global market for the DQ brand. … French yogurt and dessert maker La Fermière is building a 45,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Batavia, N.Y. … Nestlé is building a new $675-million, 630,000-sq.-ft. beverage plant in Glendale, Arizona. The facility, scheduled for completion in 2024, will initially produce creamers but with the ability to expand to make additional beverages in the future. (Company reports; WGRZ, 3/16/22; QSR Magazine, 3/11/22)

    Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina is closing two milk powder drying towers at its Leeuwarden, Netherlands, facility, as well as its fresh dairy product plant in Maasdam. The closures are part of the company’s plan to refocus its portfolio on value-added products. Leeuwarden will shut down May 1, 2022. Friesland Campina did not specify a date for Maasdam’s closure but said it would take place no later than December 2023. (Company reports)

    Norwegian dairy processor TINE opened a $26-million cheese expansion at its Storsteinnes, Balsfjord, plant. The project is part of TINE’s plan to grow its dairy export business. The facility can produce 2,600 MT of traditional Norwegian brown cheese and 2,600 MT of goat and other cheese types. TINE initially plans to target South Korea, where brown cheese has been gaining a following, with other Asian markets to follow. (, 3/21/22)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group is exiting its Russian ventures. The co-op is closing its Moscow office and withdrawing from its joint venture with Russia’s Unifood that started in 2018. Fonterra said it is confident, given current market conditions, that it can find a home for product it was shipping to Russia. In 2021, that included 13,352 MT of butterfat, 1,811 MT of SMP and 1,445 MT of WMP. Separately, Fonterra said it was continuing to make progress on divesting its Chilean dairy business and on reviewing its Australian business. (Company reports)

    Lactalis Chairman Emmanuel Besnier is taking over CEO responsibilities (although Lactalis has not said he will hold that title), and long-serving executive Thierry Clément has been appointed to the newly-created role of chief operating officer. Former CEO Philippe Palazzi stepped down in February. … Saudi Dairy and Foodstuff Co. (SADAFCO) added 215,000-sq.ft. of space to its Jeddah production facility, nearly doubling the size of the plant. The addition will focus on ice cream production. … Cargill opened a new technical application center in Turkey that will serve as a regional innovation hub to support dairy customers in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa. The facility includes a pilot plant and blending capacity. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office;, 3/24/22;, 3/16/22)

    April-Jun-23-2022-12-51-22-64-PMThe Middle East remains a thriving region for foodservice expansion. A few recent developments:

    • AG Café, the master franchisee for the Tim Hortons brand in the Middle East, plans to open 110 more Tim Hortons locations in Saudi Arabia by 2024, giving the company more than 300 across the GCC.
    • PJP Investment Group, the master franchisee for Papa John’s International, signed an agreement with UAE-based energy and retail company ENOC Group. By year-end, PJP plans to open seven Papa John’s outlets at ENOC food courts across the UAE. The new units will give PJP more than 70 Papa John’s stores in the nation.
    • “Ghost” or “cloud” kitchens are a growing foodservice trend worldwide, including the Middle East. Kitopi Bahrain, which cooperates with many local, regional and international foodservice brands, including Urban Slice pizza, opened three cloud kitchens and a central production facility in Bahrain. With the expansion, the company will begin offering additional products, including OG Sliders burgers. Kitopi earlier announced plans to expand to Singapore and Malaysia in the second half of 2022. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office)

    Lactalis is reportedly buying the fresh product operations of German dairy co-op Bayerische Milchindustrie (BMI) including the brands Frankenland, Thüringer Land and Haydi and a manufacturing plant in Würzburg, Germany. BMI said it would focus its business on cheese and ingredients moving forward. (, 3/29/22)

    Olivier Delamea will succeed Jean-Paul Torris as CEO of Savencia Fromage & Dairy. Torris is stepping down after 30 years with Savencia, including the last six as CEO. Delamea is joining Savencia on April 4, 2022, after heading the vegetable division of the Avril Group and an earlier run as general manager of Danone France. … Swiss cheese and dairy processor Emmi named Ricarda Demarmels as the company’s next CEO. Demarmels, who currently serves as Emmi CFO, will replace Urs Riedener when he steps down on Jan. 1, 2023, after leading the company for 14 years. (Company reports)

    Ireland’s Kerry Group joined the list of companies altering their Russian business plans. After scaling back its Russian and Belarusian activities over the past few weeks, the company announced it was suspending all operations in both countries. (Agriland, 4/4/22)

    U.S. cheesemaker Valley Queen Cheese is spending $195 million to expand its Milbank, South Dakota, manufacturing plant. The project will increase annual output by 57,000 MT. Valley Queen expects to break ground next month, with the plant being fully operational by January 2025. Valley Queen expects the project will support significant growth in milk producers in the region, estimating farmers will add about 30,000 head over the next three years. (Company news)

    China’s Ningxia Saishang Dairy is spending $63 million to build a new manufacturing plant in Shizuishan City in the Ningxia Autonomous Region in north-central China. Ningxia Saishang is a major supplier of cream and dairy ingredients to Starbucks and other Chinese coffee and tea shops. The company said the new plant would produce 100,000 MT of dairy products per year, but did not specify exactly which products it would make. Separately, local farming company Ningxia State Farm signed a framework agreement with the local government to build a $361-million farm that would initially house 50,000 dairy cows. The group plans to triple cow numbers by 150,000 by 2025. (USDEC China office)

    UK cereal maker Weetabix Food Co., a subsidiary of Missouri-based Post Holdings, acquired Lacka Foods, owner of the Üfit high-protein drink brand. The deal is expected to create growth opportunities for Lacka in UK and international markets. (Company reports;, 4/8/22)

    China’s Bright Dairy launched a new freeze-dried cheese product under the Keep Cheese! label. The line comes in two flavors: plain and blackcurrant. The company is marketing the product from a nutritional angle, citing that it contains 2.6 times the amount of calcium as in milk. … Britain’s First Milk and Ornua Foods UK renewed a long-term agreement under which First Milk will continue to supply Ornua’s cut-and-wrap facility in Leek with cheddar. Prior to a recent expansion at its Lake District Creamery plant in Aspatria, First Milk was reportedly supplying Ornua with up to 50,000 MT of cheese per year. (USDEC China office; Company reports)

    Coffee company Lavazza Group, headquartered in Italy, is planning a major expansion in China. Working with partner Yum China, the company plans to open 1,000 new outlets by the end of 2025. It currently has 58 stores covering all Tier 1 cities and many Tier 2. … Australian dairy and protein bar company Halo Food renewed a supply agreement to supply WMP and SMP to New Zealand retailer Foodstuffs. The deal is worth NZ$9.4 million (about US$6.3 million), a 22% increase in value over the first contract. (USDEC China office; Company reports)

    Italian cheesemaker Nuova Castelli, owned by French dairy giant Lactalis, plans to close two Alival cheese plants in Ponte Buggianese and Reggio Calabria, Italy. The closures, set for the first quarter of 2023, are part of a cost-cutting effort to streamline operations. The Alival facilities have been struggling for some time, Nuova Castelli said, with performance aggravated by the pandemic and rising costs. The Ponte Buggianese facility makes mozzarella, ricotta and pecorino; products made at Reggio Calabria were not reported. (, 4/23/22; La Nazione, 4/22/22)

    Finland’s Valio sold its Russian dairy operations to Russian food producer Velkom Group, including a processed cheese facility in Ershovo, outside of Moscow, and the Viola cheese brand. The deal allows the new owner to continue using Valio packaging materials until it burns through current supplies and Valio brands beyond Viola until the end of the year. … The UK’s Reckitt Benckiser Group is shopping its infant formula business. Investment firms Blackstone, Carlyle Group and KKR & Co. are reportedly some of the potential buyers. Reckitt acquired the formula business when it purchased Mead Johnson Nutrition five years ago for about $17 billion. But performance has been disappointing and the company sold the Chinese portion of the business last year. … Qatari milk producer and dairy processor Baladna paid $18 million for a 5% stake in Egyptian dairy and juice company Juhayna Food Industries. Baladna, which is in the midst of expansion projects across Asia, is looking to enter the Egyptian market as well. … Mondelez paid $1.3 billion for Ricolino, the confectionery division of Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo. The deal will double Mondelez’s business in Mexico. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; USDEC Mexico office; YLE News, 4/26/22; Financial Times, 4/26/22) 

    California-based Perfect Day and Israel-based Remilk are moving ahead with plans for new facilities they say will help scale-up production and broaden distribution of their “animal-free” dairy proteins. Both companies utilize fermentation technology to create milk proteins in the lab that can be used to produce milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products. Remilk, which recently secured $120 million in Series B funding, is building what it calls “the world’s largest full-scale precision fermentation facility” in Kalundborg, Denmark. The company claims production capacity for the new plant will equal the output of 50,000 dairy cows per year. Perfect Day contracted for 60,000 sq.-ft. of space inside The Gateway BioHive, a technology campus in downtown Salt Lake City. Construction on the production facility, the second after its Berkeley, California, headquarters, is reportedly set to begin “immediately.” (Company reports)

    Glanbia Performance Nutrition will begin producing its Isopure protein drink powders in India through a partnership with local food and healthcare manufacturer Tiriputi Lifesciences. Glanbia made the move to support rising Isopure demand in the region. The company will continue to manufacture most of the ingredients in the EU, including WPI, and ship them to India for blending and packaging. … Wingstop is doubling its expansion plans in Indonesia, committing to open 120 new units by 2028 instead of 60 units. The Texas-based chain currently operates 50 restaurants in the country, five of which opened this year. (, 4/28/22; Restaurant Business, 4/27/22)

    Danone reacquired the Dumex infant formula business from Yashili International seven years after selling the brand to Yashili. Danone unloaded the Dumex business in 2015 after sales dropped sharply due to distribution changes, the industry shift to online sales and a product-safety false alarm from a Danone supplier that undermined consumer confidence in the brand. Danone said the Dumex purchase, which includes a factory in Shanghai, will expand its ability to manufacture infant formula products locally. China was a booming market for imported infant formula after the melamine-contamination scandal of 2008, but significantly stricter government oversight of the baby food sector has helped re-build trust in domestic products. In addition to the Dumex purchase, Danone sold both its 25% stake in Yashili and 20% stake in Inner Mongolia Dairy Joint Venture to China’s Mengniu Dairy. The deal will increase Mengniu’s ownership of Yashili to 76% and gives Mengniu full ownership of the joint venture. The moves are part of Danone’s broader plan to boost revenue growth by disposing of underperforming assets. (Company reports;, 5/9/22; Reuters, 5/6/22)

    PepsiCo sold its Wimm-Bill-Dann (WBD) beverage division to Russian cheesemaker Multipro but maintained ownership of WBD’s flagship dairy operations. PepsiCo purchased Russian dairy and beverage giant Wimm-Bill-Dann in 2010 for $3.8 billion. The company said it decided to sell the beverage division in 2021, prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. WBD reportedly owns about one-third of the Russian dairy market. PepsiCo halted sales of Pepsi soda products in Russia in March due to the war but has maintained production and distribution of WBD products as well as its major snack brands. (Inside Beer, 5/6/22; Reuters, 5/4/22)

    France’s Bel Group, which already held 82.5% of dairy, fruit and vegetable processor Mount Blanc-Materne, purchased all outstanding shares of the company. … Sargento Foods is acquiring fellow Wisconsin cheese company Baker Cheese Factory. (Company reports; WTMJ, 5/4/22)

    FrieslandCampina opened a new $3-million pressed cheese expansion at its Napolact manufacturing plant in Cluj, Romania. The new production line can make 3,000 MT of cheese per year. … Michael Hanley, CEO of Ireland’s Lakeland Dairies, announced plans to retire at the end of the year. … Mexican food manufacturer Sigma Alimentos said it was prepared to swap milk powder (primarily imported) for fresh milk (produced domestically) if it would help reduce prices. The Mexican government is seeking a pact with private food manufacturers to limit food inflation. (SeeNews, 5/6/22; Bloomberg, 4/26/22)

    Chinese dairy giant Yili Group plans to build a $2.2 billion, vertically integrated dairy operation in Cangzhou, Hebei Province. Yili claims the farm portion of the project will house 240,000 cows, with 115,000 acres devoted to silage corn and 50,000 acres to alfalfa. The company says the planned processing plant will handle 4,000 MT of raw milk per day. It did not specify what types of products the facility would produce. In addition to the Hebei project, Yili set aside another $2.2 billion for capacity improvements and potential acquisitions in 2022. The largest chunk (about $1.3 billion) is earmarked to expand and improve fluid milk operations and for potential fluid milk acquisitions. About $527 million will go toward expanding and upgrading milk powder manufacturing lines and potential acquisitions in the milk powder space. Yili also expects to spend nearly $90 million on innovation projects and international expansion, with a focus on Southeast Asia. The company’s yogurt division is getting $24 million, and almost $200 million will go toward projects in mineral water, plant-based protein products, functional products and foods for special medical purposes. (USDEC China office)

    After more than three decades, McDonald’s is completely pulling out of Russia. Citing the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and an unpredictable operating environment, the burger giant is selling its entire portfolio of 850 restaurants in Russia (some of which are licensed) to Russian licensee Alexander Govor. Govor operates 25 McDonald's units in Siberia. All units will be de-branded, although the company will retain the McDonald’s trademark in Russia. The company expects to write-off up to $1.4 billion due to the exit. McDonald’s had temporarily closed its company-owned Russian locations in March after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Analysts expect other Western chains to follow suit and completely sever ties with the country. (Bloomberg, 5/16/22; Reuters, 5/16/22; Restaurant Dive, 5/16/22)

    Italian dairy processor Granarolo acquired a 51% stake in Italian start-up White & Seeds. White & Seeds sells yogurt, protein bars, spreads and other protein-enhanced snacks and foods. … Australian dairy manufacturer Nature One Dairy bought the Hong Kong adult nutrition powder business of Fei Fah Medi Balm, including the Ripple and White H20 brands. Nature One expects the deal to bolster its presence in Hong Kong and China. Even though it plans to transfer production of Fei Fah Medi Balm products from a third-party contract manufacturer to its own milk powder plant in Victoria, the Hong Kong business will remain a standalone operation. (, 5/16/22;, 5/16/22)

    Upstate Niagara Cooperative selected Kevin Ellis as its new CEO, replacing retiring chief executive Larry Webster. Ellis, currently CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients, will assume the position no later than Sept. 6, 2022. … France’s Bel Group separated the roles of chair and CEO. Current Chairman and CEO Antoine Fiévet named Cécile Béliot (deputy managing director since 2019) as the new CEO. Fiévet will remain chair. (Company reports; Livingston County News, 514/22) 

    A week after McDonald’s sold its operations in Russia and exited the country, Starbucks announced it would “no longer have a brand presence” in Russia and Arla Foods said it sold its Russian operations to local management. Both Starbucks and Arla suspended all operations in the market in March. The coffee retailer has been in Russia for 15 years, building its network to 130 stores—all of them franchised. The company did not indicate the cost of the closures but did say it would continue paying its nearly 2,000 employees in Russia for six months and help them find new jobs. Arla had already reduced its business in Russia in 2014 after the country banned all European dairy exports. The company said its remaining holdings in Russia were primarily warehouses. (CNBC, 5/23/22;, 5/18/22)

    Japan’s Meiji is significantly increasing its presence in mainland China. The company is spending more than $370 million to build new production facilities in Tianjin, Guangzhou and Shanghai. The Tianjin facility will manufacture fluid milk and yogurt; the company did not identify the products for the other two plants, but it did also say it was planning to re-enter the Chinese infant formula market after exiting the business nine years ago. (USDEC China office)

    U.S. ice cream giant Wells Enterprises plans to spend $70 million to add production lines and upgrade equipment at its Le Mars, Iowa, facilities. The project follows a string of acquisitions and investments that began in 2019 and added plants in New York, New Jersey and Nevada to the Wells manufacturing network. The company says the new project aims to “optimize our manufacturing footprint and help set us up for future growth.” (Des Moines Register, 5/20/22)

    French dairy behemoth Lactalis acquired Australian yogurt-maker Jalna Dairy Foods. The acquisition includes a plant in Melbourne and a dairy farm in northern Victoria. (, 5/21/22)

    Vertically integrated Qatari dairy company Baladna expects to complete evaporated milk and butter processing additions to its Qatar manufacturing plant in early 2023. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office) 


    Arla Foods officially opened its new milk powder dryer at its site in Pronsfield, Germany. The €190-million (about US$204-million) project is Arla’s biggest single dairy investment to date. The main portion of the project, a new 51-meter-high drying tower, can produce up to 90,000 MT of milk powder annually. The company said it expects the addition to “expand our business in international markets such as the Middle East, West Africa and Southeast Asia.” The company earlier said it is targeting international branded volume growth of 5-7% per year. (Company reports)

    Brazilian dairy processors Betania Lacteos and Embare Industrias Alimenticias are merging. The new combined entity, Alvoar Lacteos, will have sales of about R$4 billion (about US$840 million), nine manufacturing plants and 13 distribution centers. … Interest in Reckitt Benckiser Group’s infant nutrition unit is reportedly low. Only a “small number” of private equity funds submitted bids, according to press reports, with others waiting to see how the current U.S. formula shortage shakes out. The company had been seeking offers by the end of May, but there is no timeline for a potential sale. (Valor Economico, 5/27/22; Bloomberg, 5/27/22)

    Chinese regulators granted domestic infant formula maker Feihe a permit to make and market lactoferrin. The company already built the lactoferrin processing line; it did not provide information on capacity. … The state-owned Oman Food Investment Holding Co. plans to spend $950 million on 23 food-related projects over the next five years, including an expansion at Oman’s Mazoon Dairy. … The UK’s Müller Milk & Ingredients promoted COO Rob Hutchinson and Commercial Director Liam McNamara to the roles of joint CEOs, replacing outgoing leader Jon Jenkins. (USDEC China office; USDEC Middle East/North Africa office;, 5/30/22)

    Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina is selling most of its German dairy business to German dairy processor Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller. The deal includes the brands Landliebe, Tuffi, Südmilch, Puddis and Mondelice, various private labels in Germany, the foodservice brand Gastro, and production facilities, warehouses and distribution centers in Heilbronn, Cologne and Schefflenz. FrieslandCampina will focus instead on marketing its international brands in Germany, including cheese brands Frico, Holland Master and others, Chocomel beverages, private label products produced outside Germany, and its Valess dairy and meat alternatives. It will also maintain its physical presence in Germany with its Kievet operations in Lippstadt and DFE Pharma business in Goch and Nörten-Hardenberg. FrieslandCampina will continue to collect and process milk from its member farmers in Germany. Müller will take over the supply contracts of non-member milk suppliers. (Company reports)

    Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina said that it had concluded a strategic evaluation of its Friso infant formula operations and the business will remain part of the company’s portfolio. FrieslandCampina’s Specialized Nutrition division will manage the Friso brand with a sharpened focus on China, Greece, Malaysia, Mexico and Vietnam, as well as on digitalization and innovation in the premium formula segment. (Company reports)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group is consolidating its Africa, Middle East, Europe, North America (AMENA) business and its Asia Pacific (APAC) business into a single operating unit. Current APAC CEO Judith Swales will lead the new division with AMENA CEO Kevin Wickham leaving the company. The move is part of Fonterra’s effort to adapt its structure to account for planned divestments of its businesses in Brazil and Chile, its exit from Russia and the movement of its Active Living business to another new unit called Innovation and Brand. The co-op named Komal Misty-Mehta head of Innovation and Brand, which will seek to commercialize Fonterra’s innovation and R&D expertise. (Company reports)

    Moroccan cheese processor Oland Group inaugurated four new manufacturing lines at its plant in Casablanca. The company says the $8-million investment will help increase capacity enough to not only serve growing domestic demand but also build export markets in Africa, the Middle East and North America. … Ireland’s Kerry Group officially opened the Kerry Kenya Application and Development Center in Nairobi, marking the latest in a series of African investments over the past year. The new R&D facility follows last month’s opening of a $38-million “taste manufacturing facility” in South Africa and the December 2021 acquisition of Kenyan flavor manufacturer Afribon. Kerry said the investments exemplify company-wide efforts to create “a world of sustainable nutrition.” … Canada’s Agropur is investing C$34 million (about US$26 million) in its ice cream and frozen novelties plant in Truro, Nova Scotia. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Company reports;, 6/20/22; Business Today, 6/17/22)

    Tom Quaife is a veteran dairy journalist, having served 21 years as editor of Dairy Herd Management magazine and the past eight years as a communications contractor for USDEC. 

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