The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • USDEC's Mid-Year 2024 Global Dairy Business Review

    By USDEC Staff July 1, 2024

    Our month-by-month summary of mergers, acquisitions, expansions, executive hires and other global dairy business news for the first half of 2024.


    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 2024 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 5 Global Dairy eBrief and ended with news from the June 28 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 2024, presented in month-by-month chronological order. Think of it as the global dairy business news that was.

    Look for the full-year 2024 Global Dairy Business Review in January.  

    January calendarMolly Pelzer, CEO of Midwest Dairy, officially announced her retirement, which will be effective in March 2024. Pelzer joined Midwest Dairy in 1984 as a program director working with schools and dairy nutrition programs and served in a variety of leadership roles ever since. She has also served on USDEC’s Operating Committee. “Over my time at Midwest Dairy, I have seen checkoff strategies evolve and foster new ideas that make a difference for dairy farm families,” said Pelzer. “It has been a privilege to work for dairy farmers in each of my roles in dairy checkoff, and I will continue to be a dairy advocate in my retirement.” Midwest Dairy’s board has engaged a search firm to guide the selection of the next CEO for the organization.

    Lino A. Saputo, president and CEO of Saputo Inc., was appointed to the Order of Canada, an honor created by the Canadian government in 1967 to recognize “people who make extraordinary contributions to the nation.” Saputo founder Emanuele (Lino) Saputo was previously appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2012. … Michigan-based pizza chain Domino’s plans to add more than 1,100 new stores per year under its recently announced five-year growth plan called “Hungry for More.” Over the long term, Domino's believes the international business could grow to 40K locations, outnumbering U.S. stores 4-to-1. … Two of Africa’s most prominent e-commerce companies—Wasoko and MaxAB—plan to merge. Together, the groups have an estimated customer base of 65 million people across eight countries: Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and DR Congo. … An arbitrator was appointed to help New Zealand’s A2 Milk and Synlait Milk come to an agreement over A2’s termination of an exclusive supply deal with Synlait (see Global Dairy eBrief, 9/22/23)(USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Company reports; Reuters, 12/21/23; Seeking Alpha, 12/7/23)

    Ornua Nutrition Ingredients, which is part of Ornua Ingredients Europe, is selling its powder blending and manufacturing business in the UK to Roger Wertheim-Aymes, founder of the medical supplement operation Aymes. (Ornua and Aymes had previously signed a long-term supply agreement for sachets of milk powder under the Aymes Shake label.) The deal includes a facility in Leek, UK, which produces dairy ingredients, bakery products, breakfast cereal, sports nutrition products and health and well-being products. Once the deal is finalized, the facility will manufacture products under the trading name Allicio. (Just Food, 1/10/24; Agriland, 1/6/24)

    Pinlive Foods, the Chinese owner of the imported dairy brand Weidendorf, started producing its own cheese in December. The company’s first factory is located in Shanghai and includes two cheese production lines—one for small round-shaped cheddar cheese with a production capacity of 600 kg per hour, the other for string cheese with a production capacity of 500 kg per hour. (USDEC China office)

    Australia-based milk powder company Nutura Organic is expanding its presence into Vietnam and Thailand as the company looks for growth in emerging markets while China becomes more challenging. In Vietnam, Nutura is partnering with Natural Foods Group to launch products ranging from its pregnancy and conventional infant milk formulas to its organic infant milk formula. In Thailand, the company announced a distribution deal with Thai food producer CP Foods to introduce Nutura products into the country. That launch, which is expected to begin in hypermarkets and supermarkets in the first quarter of this year, features products designed for consumers at different life stages, including both infant and adult milk formulas from Nutura Organic. (, 1/3/24)

    French dairy company Danone signed an agreement to sell its Horizon Organic and Wallaby premium organic dairy businesses in the U.S. to Platinum Equity, a U.S.-based investment firm. Horizon Organic and Wallaby represented approximately 3% of Danone’s global revenues in 2022. Danone will retain a non-consolidated minority stake in the business. … UK-based Volac International has agreed to sell its milk replacer business to The Netherlands’ Denkavit Group, a move that will make Denkavit the sole owner of the Volac milk replacer sales organization and the Volac Socoor business in Italy. Company officials said the buy-out was a strategic decision that will allow Denkavit to strengthen the milk replacer business while enabling Volac to put more focus on growing its new feed additives division. … Chicago-based Archer-Daniels-Midland announced a deal to acquire Revela Foods, a Wisconsin-based dairy flavor ingredients developer and manufacturer. The deal, which ADM says will enhance its growing portfolio of flavor ingredients and solutions, is expected to close early this year. (Company reports)

    Dallas-based pizza buffet chain Pizza Inn signed a franchise agreement with Blessings Basket Company for Serving Food to develop 50 locations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The deal, which kicks off with two new locations in the Middle Eastern kingdom this month, will more than triple the number of outlets Pizza Inn operates internationally. … China’s National Dairy Innovation Center officially started operation in December. Approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology and located in Inner Mongolia, the Center brings together more than 100 member companies and more than 1,000 research experts from China and abroad to focus on China’s national dairy demand and industry development. … Ireland’s Lakeland Dairies plans to expand its Killeshandra, Co. Cavan, fluid milk facility, increasing milk intake by nearly 20% and expanding storage, packaging and loading dock. (Late last year, Lakeland announced the closure of three of its processing sites.) … French global dairy giant Lactalis inaugurated a new solar plant that’s expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7% or about 2,000 MT per year. The solar thermal plant will supply heat to the company’s adjacent Verdun dairy factory, which converts liquid whey into whey powder, for the next 25 years. (Company reports; USDEC China office; Agriland, 1/8/24; Restaurant Business, 1/4/24)

    FrieslandCampina Ingredients has identified key trends it says will shape the coming year in the food, drink and supplement industries, as consumers turn to nutrition as a source of comfort and control in a tumultuous world. In its “Nutritional Trends 2024” report, the Dutch dairy cooperative says an increased focus on healthy eating will manifest itself in nutrition trends including: sustainable, planet-first nutrition; accessible and tailored nutrition for all; innovation in alt proteins; advancing gut health; and healthy ageing and recovery. (Company reports)

    Japan’s Meiji is nearly doubling its investment in Danone’s infant formula production facility in Wexford, Ireland. The company added €10.5 million (about US$11.4 million) in new funding, pushing its total investment in the facility to €22.5 million (about US$24.5 million). The money will go toward increasing capacity to meet rising demand for the product, which was rolled out in to several European markets in 2022. (Just Food, 1/11/24)

    Ann Meaney, Tirlán’s head of ingredient marketing, recently sat down with editors from DairyReporter for a Q&A on dairy ingredient trends and opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. Click here to read Meaney’s thoughts on nutrition, innovation, the marketing advantages of “grass-fed” and more. Glanbia Ireland and Glanbia Co-op changed their name to Tirlán in late 2022. (DairyReporter, 1/11/24)

    Hong Kong-based investment firm PAG Private Equity agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Food Union Europe, a Latvia-based provider of ice cream and frozen dairy treats to consumers in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark, Norway and Romania. (Company reports, 1/10/24)

    Tata Starbucks, the joint venture between Starbucks and India’s Tata Consumer Products, said it plans to add 1,000 new stores in India by 2028. The expansion plan involves entering some of India’s Tier 2 and 3 cities, increasing staff to roughly 8,600 people, and expanding the venture’s drive-thru, airport café and 24-hour store offerings. … Danone plans to shut down its dairy and plant-based yogurt facility in Parets del Vallès, north of Barcelona, Spain, in a move aimed at improving manufacturing efficiencies. It did not reveal a timeline, but news reports say the company is already looking for a buyer for the plant. … As part of the country’s efforts to boost earnings by farmers, Kenyan President William Ruto commissioned a new Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) factory in Nyahururu that’s expected to process at least 150,000 liters of milk a day. Ruto also directed KCC to begin paying farmers KSh50 (about US$0.31) per liter for milk beginning March 1, up from the current KSh 40 (US$0.25). … Paris-based food technology startup Standing Ovation, which is backed by Bel Group, received €3 million (roughly $US 3.3 million) in public sector funding to increase its production of animal-free casein from precision fermentation. (Just Food, 1/12/24; Green Queen, 1/12/24; Inside Retail, 1/10/24; Office of the President of the Republic of Kenya, 1/10/24)

    Heloise Le Norcy-Trott, group marketing director for Lactalis UK & Ireland, shared in a recent interview with GroceryTrader that rising consumer confidence has the UK cheese market poised for growth in the next 12 months. Click here to read the cheese trends Norcy-Trott says will help drive growth and opportunity in 2024. (GroceryTrader, 1/17/24)

    French dairy company Danone announced it will invest EU$100 million (about US$109 million) in the company’s operations in Mexico in 2024. The financial commitment includes support for the company’s “Margarita Project,” which has provided tools, training and technology for more than 500 rural milk producers in the country to help ensure the quality of milk used in Danone Mexico’s yogurt production. … Arla Foods began an operational review of its specialty cheese site, Arla Melton Mowbray Creamery UK, to search for a buyer. The plant is also known locally as Tuxford & Tebbutt. Arla cited a decline in the UK specialty cheese market as the reason for the review. … Chilean food tech company NotCo can continue to use the word “milk” on its NotMilk labels after a recent ruling found the company clearly states its product is not actually milk. A court of appeals rejected a lawsuit filed by the Association of Milk Producers of the Los Ríos Region that claimed NotCo was guilty of unfair competition for using the word on its plant-based beverages. … Israel-based food tech startup Imagindairy announced it has acquired and is operating its own industrial-scale precision fermentation production lines focused on the production of dairy ingredients. The facility allows Imagindairy access to more than 100,000 liters of fermentation capacity, with planned capacity expansion to triple this volume in the next one to two years. (Agriland, 1/23/24; Yucatan Times, 1/21/24; Vegconomist, 1/18/24; company report, 1/17/24)

    February calendar

    Global investment firm Cathay Capital announced a strategic partnership with French dairy company Savencia Fromage and Dairy, in a deal that aims to enhance Savencia’s presence in China. The partnership includes Cathay’s investment in Savencia’s Chinese brand Baijifu, which includes more than 50 cheese and dairy products. A Cathay official said the investment signals the firm’s belief in the future potential of China’s dairy market, and that the company will help Baijifu “better adapt to the evolving needs of the Chinese market and actively promote product innovation and brand development, sales channel expansion and supply chain management for the French brand.” (China Daily, 1/26/24)

    Vertically integrated Russian dairy producer EkoNiva Group is opening a new office in the Chinese city of Xi’an. The move aims to grow dairy exports to China by increasing brand awareness, expanding the range of products offered, and improving supply chains by leveraging rail transport in the region. EkoNiva has been exporting dairy products to China since 2020, including retail UHT milk. (The DairyNews, 1/23/24)

    The Value4Dairy Consortium, a collaboration of four strategic partners led by Dutch dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina, received a US$5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to boost dairy productivity and sustainability in the Nigerian dairy sector. The Consortium, which was launched in 2021, aims to enable farmers in tropical conditions such as Nigeria to improve milk yields and income. The private sector collaboration includes FrieslandCampina WAMCO (the company’s Nigerian dairy subsidiary); URUS (a global artificial insemination, genetics and herd management systems company), Barenbrug (a grass and forage seed company), and Agrifirm (a global company that operates in the animal nutrition and crop farming business).The grant will fund half the cost of the Consortium’s latest project, which aims to modernize the Nigerian dairy sector and bolster small-scale milk production. The Consortium will establish three self-sustaining dairy zones that will be run by local farmer cooperatives and will serve as hubs for training and supporting 10,000 pastoralists and smallholders, with the goal of growing to include 40,000 milk producers. FrieslandCampina WAMCO will collect the aggregated milk for processing, and Consortium partners will provide farmers with access to the latest advancements in feed, breeding, sustainable farming practices and routes to the market, enabling them to increase milk production at lower costs sustainably. (Company reports)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group made two moves as part of its ongoing efforts to increase sustainable production. Fonterra Australia launched a project that eliminates the cardboard packaging used when transporting its Perfecto Italiano Mozzarella cheese from its Stanhope manufacturing site to the secondary processing site in Melbourne, where it is shredded. Fonterra’s “Naked Mozz” initiative will reduce the amount of cardboard used each year for the trip by 330 tons for an annual savings of more than NZ$825,000 (about US$505,000). Separately, Fonterra said it will install a 20-megawatt electrode boiler at its Edendale site on New Zealand’s South Island. The expected NZ$36 million (about US$22 million) investment will decrease the site’s emissions by around 20% per year and lower the company’s overall carbon emissions by nearly 3% per year when it begins operating in FY25. As part of a strategic plan to expand its wellness sector profile and bolster its Southeast Asia position as a regional business hub, Fonterra is expanding its Nurture range of powdered probiotic drink products. The New Zealand-based dairy nutrition cooperative’s Nurture brand is introducing a new range of products designed to target skin health and stress relief that build upon its existing offerings designed to support immunity, energy and focus. Nurture is introducing the range in Singapore, and looking to expand into potential markets including Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The products target active professionals seeking improved support for gut health and overall productivity and well-being. Each unit contains 50 billion probiotic strains, with no added sugar. They’re currently available for purchase on Nurture’s website. Company officials said they’re working with their Singapore teams and distribution partners on plans to expand distribution into stores. (Company reports;, 1/23/24)

    Denmark-based Arla Foods is in discussions to purchase the Semper facility, a factory in Sweden owned by Switzerland’s Hero Group that is set to be closed due to changing market conditions. Arla already owns a cheese and spreadable butter factory next to the Semper site and is interested in buying the land as well as the factory buildings and parts of the equipment. … The Kansas Dairy Ingredients (KDI) plant in Hugoton closed unexpectedly last week, just two and a half years after KDI invested more than US$40 million to expand the plant, which employed more than 100 people and produced cheese and butter. (Company reports; 12News, 1/22/24; Dairy Business Africa, 1/25/24)

    Following news of the acquisition of Food Union Europe by a private equity firm, Andrey Beskhmelnitsky, CEO of the Latvian frozen dairy treats provider, spoke with DairyReporter about the accompanying spinoff of the group’s Chinese business. In the interview, Beskhmelnitsky said Food Union China, which will become an independent entity, will focus on pursuing B2B growth and developing its protein-enriched products in China as it splits from the wider group. Click here to read more about Food Union China and its upcoming strategic initiatives and priorities. (DairyReporter, 2/5/24)

    Australian dairy producers Margaret River Dairy Co. and Mundella Foods returned to local ownership when they were reportedly bought by Australian dairy company The Cheeky Cow. The two dairy companies were shut down by their Chinese owner Bright Foods Group when Bright said it could not find a buyer last year. Cheeky Cow plans to move its operations to the newly acquired Margaret River Dairy facility after making renovations to the site. (Augusta Margaret River Times, 2/5/24)

    Irish dairy cooperative Ornua named Lindsay Brady as president of Ornua Foods North America. According to the company, Brady, whose most recent role was as general manager at Conagra Brands, will be responsible for “driving ambitious growth plans” for its Kerrygold butter brand in the U.S. and Latin America. … Denmark-based bioproduction company 21st.BIO announced it is now granting access to its precision fermentation technology platform to food and ingredient manufacturers. The move follows 21st.BIO's successful scaling of the beta-lactoglobulin protein. … Saudi Arabia-based food manufacturer, seller and distributor Saudia Dairy and Foodstuff Co. (SADAFCO) opened a new sales depot in Makkah. The 86,000-sq.-ft. warehouse, which includes a solar energy system, was established to save costs and improve the supply chain and services to cities in the region. … Belgium-based dairy cooperative Milcobel said the company and its CEO Nils van Dam have “parted ways.” A company statement cited “a clear difference in vision between Board of Directors and CEO” for the split and said a management team has been assembled by the Board of Directors to handle day-to-day management until a new CEO is hired. (Company reports; Arab News, 1/20/24)

    New Zealand-based dairy cooperative Fonterra said it is increasing production of cream cheese at its Darfield site to meet growing demand from China. Plant officials said the company plans to export around 20,000 MT of cream cheese to China this season—an increase prompted in part by last week’s Chinese New Year celebrations, as cream cheese is commonly found in Chinese pastries, tea macchiatos, cheese lollipops and cheesecakes. (Radio New Zealand, 2/12/24)

    Citing the need for “efficient and productive operations” in the current global landscape, Nestlé announced plans to close its dairy plant in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. The plant focuses primarily on producing dairy products under the Switzerland-based company’s Prolacsa brand, which officials say will move its operations to other facilities in Latin America. … Irish dairy cooperative Ornua named Conor Galvin as its new CEO. Galvin, who is currently CEO of Ireland-based coop Dairygold, will assume the new role in May. … France-based Danone inaugurated a new beverage production facility that was recently converted from dairy to plant-based. The site, which took two years to transform and features two production lines, was converted to anticipate consumer demand and is now home to Danone France’s only oat-flour-to-oat-juice production facility. … Israel-based animal-free dairy company Remilk received Health Canada's “Letter of No Objection,” which allows the startup to sell its animal-free beta-lactoglobulin protein in Canada. The company’s products, which incorporate proteins produced via precision fermentation, have also received approval from the U.S., Singapore and Israel. (Company reports; Dairy News Global, 2/12/24)

    New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra announced it will merge its Fonterra Brands New Zealand and Fonterra Australia business units. The new, single entity will be known as Fonterra Oceania and will be led by René Dedoncker, who has been Fonterra Australia’s managing director since 2017. Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell said the merger is part of an effort to bolster the co-op’s competitive position in the trans-Tasman dairy market. (, 2/21/24; Dairy News Global, 2/19/24)

    In its 2023 annual results, Denmark-based Arla Foods said a cautious first-half consumer market gave way to growth for its brands in the second half of the year. The farmer-owned cooperative reported 2023 revenues of €13.7 billion (about US$14.75 billion)—down only slightly from the previous year’s total of €13.8 billion. Net profit was €380m (about US$410 million). In its 2024 outlook, the company said it expects second-half 2023 growth momentum to continue in the first half of this year, resulting in an expected “return to branded volume driven growth for 2024 as a whole of 1%-3%,” despite more market and growth outlook uncertainty in the second half of the year. (Company report, 2/20/24)

    Finnish dairy company Valio announced the launch of a new research, development and innovation project designed to “create a Finnish nature-smart food system in which growth, profitability and added value are built on the basis of sustainable production.” The five-year, €100 million (about US$108 million) initiative, known as “Food 2.0,” is set to start this year and aims to increase exports connected to the food system by more than €1 billion (about US$1.1 billion) once completed. The project will receive about €30 million (about US$32 million) in funding from Business Finland, a government organization that provides innovation funding and trade, travel and investment promotion. (Company reports)

    Scotland-based dairy cooperative First Milk completed its acquisition of Blackmore Vale Dairy, a UK-based manufacturer of chilled dairy products. … German ingredients giant Döhler entered a manufacturing partnership with Delaware-based fermentation company Superbrewed Food to help the startup scale production of its Postbiotic Protein ingredient. The companies claim the ingredient performs well in dairy and alternative dairy applications. Superbrewed and France-based cheesemaker Bel Group are reportedly making progress on their 2022 strategic collaboration to develop lines of cheese products that incorporate Postbiotic Protein. (Company reports)

    Yili Group’s new ice cream factory in Huanggang City, Hubei Province, started production. The new facility, Yili’s fourth in the province, mainly produces high-end ice cream and frozen dairy products, with a capacity of 100,000 MT per year. The company estimates the plant will drive US$277.84 million in revenue annually. … To mark the Lunar New Year, Starbucks released a new pork-flavored latte in China called the “Abundant Year Savory Latte.” The drink, which features pork-flavored sauce with espresso and steamed milk and is garnished with a slice of pork on a skewer, is available at Starbucks Reserve stores across China. … In its recently released five-year outlook, Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International (RBI) said it is confident in the long-term global growth outlook for its Tim Hortons, Burger King, Popeyes and Firehouse Subs operations. Company officials said RBI is envisioning opening at least 7,000 new restaurants in international markets over the five-year outlook period. … To meet growing consumer demand and create consistency with other company products, Arla Foods relaunched its plant-based JÖRĐ brand as Arla JÖRĐ. The relaunch, which debuted in Sweden last week, includes updating the package design to feature the Arla brand and an enhanced formula that includes vitamins D and B9 as well as fiber. (USDEC China office; Company reports; Vegconomist, 2/16/2024; CNN, 2/20/24)

    March calendar

    France’s Danone plans to sell its Russian business to a member of its government-installed management team for 17.7 billion rubles (about US$192 million). The move comes after Danone’s local operations were seized by the Russian government last July in retaliation against foreign sanctions imposed in response to its 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Danone initially said it would stay in the region after the war began but decided to seek a buyer after seeing financial performance decline. The deal, which is reportedly priced at 56% less than market value, must be approved by Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture and a special subcommittee that rules on the exits of Western companies. (Reuters, 2/21/24; Financial Times, 2/21/24)

    Persistently high inflation interfered with sales at many major global dairy processors in 2023, as companies noted in their most recent financial performance results.

    • China driving results for a2 Milk Co. New Zealand-based infant formula company a2 Milk Co. reported that revenue was up 3.7% and net profit after tax was up 15.6% in its 2024 half-year results. The company’s report cites strong performance in the Chinese market, which accounts for roughly 80% of its branded sales, for the gains. Despite fewer births and higher costs associated with meeting China’s new national standards for infant formulas, a2 posted total IMF sales growth of 1.5% and launched a new China-labeled IMF product. However, while announcing improved revenue guidance, the company also warned that “China IMF market conditions remain challenging with a double-digit decline in market value still expected in FY24.”
    • Dairy Ireland weighs on Kerry Group results. Kerry Group 2023 revenues fell by 8.6% to €8.020 billion (about US$8.7 billion) while profit after tax increased to €728.1m (about US$787.4 million). Part of the revenue drop was attributed to falling sales and volumes in the Dairy Ireland unit. Revenue and overall EBITDA in Dairy Ireland dropped due to constrained supply conditions as well as elevated input costs impacting market demand dynamics. Chief executive Edmond Scanlon said the company would continue to “selectively invest” in the dairy business. It sees emerging markets, sustainable nutrition and foodservice as its key business differentiators.
    • “Difficult year” for FrieslandCampina. Netherlands-based FrieslandCampina’s revenue dropped by 7.1% in 2023 to €13 billion (about US$14 billion), a decrease the company attributed to unfavorable currency translation effects, the sale of part of its German consumer activities and declining volumes in consumer markets due to high inflation. The co-op’s operating profit tumbled 84.1% last year to €75 million, a drop linked to discrepancies between the guaranteed price of member milk and dairy commodity market prices. CEO Jan Derck van Karnebeek said, “2023 was a difficult year for FrieslandCampina,” and the company is not providing a supplementary cash payment to its member dairy farmers. FrieslandCampina expects worldwide demand for dairy to grow slightly in 2024, but said ongoing conflicts and geopolitical instability in various parts of the world will likely increase costs for raw materials, packaging materials and transportation.
    • Strong results for Danone. France-based Danone reported that revenues rose 7% in 2023 to €27.6 million (about US$30 million), a jump attributed to a 7.4% increase in prices. The essential dairy and plant-based protein (EDP) business was credited as a key driver of Danone's success, delivering positive results with volume/mix returning to positive territory. China, North Asia and Oceania also experienced competitive growth. CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique said 2023 was a year of consistent progress and strong delivery against the company’s Renew Danone agenda. “In a context which remains challenging, the progressive improvement of our volume-mix, turning positive in Q4, the visible progress made by EDP Europe, and the continued strong momentum of our Medical Nutrition activity are encouraging signs, even if lots remains to be done,” he said. This year, the company expects inflation to ease and like-for-like sales growth in the 3% to 5% range.
    • Dairy and Infant Nutrition grow for Nestlé. In the Swiss food and beverage giant’s full-year 2023 results, total reported sales decreased 1.5% to CHF93 billion (about US$106 billion), a drop the company attributed to foreign exchange fluctuations and net divestitures. Two of the brighter spots were in Infant Nutrition and dairy. Infant nutrition posted high single-digit growth, based on continued momentum for premium infant formula, including human milk oligosaccharides products and specialty formulas. Dairy reported mid-single-digit growth, led by fortified milks, coffee creamers and home-baking products. Dairy sales in Latin America were solid, with high single-digit growth supported by dairy culinary solutions and fortified milks. Infant Nutrition saw high single-digit growth in Latin America and positive growth in Greater China. Sales of healthy aging products grew at a double-digit rate in China, supported by the launch of the company’s N3 milk. CEO Mark Schneider cited increased marketing and other investments for the company’s growth in the face of unprecedented inflation that impacted consumer demand for food and beverage products. Nestlé expects organic sales growth of around 4% in 2024 and a moderate increase in operating profit margin. (Company reports)

    Fraser & Neave Holdings, the Malaysian unit of Singapore-based Fraser and Neave Ltd., announced plans to lease a 350,000-sq.-ft. industrial land parcel in Cambodia for a new dairy manufacturing facility. A new subsidiary, Fraser & Neave Foods (Cambodia), will operate the facility, which will produce sweetened beverage creamer in cans and pouches. According to a company report, the 50-year lease aims to help strengthen the company’s presence in Cambodia. The facility, which is expected to cost US$38 million to develop, is slated to open in early 2026. (Company reports)

    Denmark-based Arla Foods announced that in 2025 it will close its Tistrupt dairy factory and transfer “the majority” of its cheese production to its facility in Taulov, about 80 kilometers away. The company said the Tistrupt facility, which will shut down in 2026, would require “significant investments” to meet future safety, health and quality standards. (Just Food, 2/22/24)

    Australia-based Bega Cheese said it will close its Betta Milk and Pyengana Dairy plant in Burnie, Tasmania, and move production of those brands to one of its other Tasmanian facilities. A company statement cited the inability of the site to function in a commercially sustainable way, calling it “an aging facility that has a number of challenges including its safety and environmental impacts.” … Unilever’s Breyers brand and California-based precision fermentation supplier Perfect Day announced a partnership to launch a new Breyers lactose-free chocolate frozen dessert made with Perfect Day’s dairy protein from fermentation. U.K.-based Unilever is the first multinational ice cream and frozen dessert brand to offer a product with Perfect Day’s whey protein from fermentation. (Company reports; Just Food, 2/20/24)

    In its FY 2023 annual results, the Emmi Group reported revenue for FY23 up 0.3% from the previous year and adjusted net profit growth of 9.3% from 2022 (adjusted for the one-time loss on the divestment of Gläserne Molkerei and the profit from the sale of the minority interest in Ambrosi). The company credited its positive results to its consistent focus on strategic markets and attractive niches, including chilled premium desserts in the U.S. and Italy as well as in “important growth markets such as Chile and Mexico.” In 2024, the Emmi Group expects the general economic conditions to remain challenging and subdued economic growth in many market relevant to the company. As a result, the company expects organic sales growth of 1% to 2% and a net profit margin of 5.0% to 5.5%. (Company reports)

    In a move designed to enhance the dairy cooperative’s portfolio of products and geographical reach, Ireland’s Lakeland Dairies completed its acquisition of Belgium-based butterfat business De Brandt Dairy International NV. … U.K.-based Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses acquired Hampshire Cheese. The deal, which will add Hampshire’s continental-style soft cheeses Tunworth and Winslade to the Butlers portfolio, reportedly makes Butlers the largest independent soft cheesemaker in the U.K. (Company report, 3/1/24; FoodBev Media, 3/6/24)

    Saizeriya, an Italian restaurant chain from Japan, invested US$30 million in its Guangzhou subsidiary to build a new plant that will produce sauce, pasta and pizza. The new facility, which is expected to begin operations in January 2026, will reportedly help reduce production costs, stabilize supply and increase capacity as Saizeriya looks to open more outlets in Guangzhou. … Irish co-op Lakeland Diaries received local government permission to proceed with its plans for an extension to its dairy processing facility in County Cavan. The single-story extension is part of a company effort to enhance operational efficiencies and will include storage, packaging and dispatch areas, as well as a corridor linking it to the existing facility. (USDEC China Office; Agriland, 2/27/24)

    Minnesota-based Midwest Dairy, which represents more than 4,000 dairy farmers in 10 states, named Corey Scott as its new CEO. She will replace Molly Pelzer, who announced her retirement last fall. Scott has more than 15 years of food and agriculture experience, including serving as vice president of sales and marketing for Athian and holding several leadership positions with Land O’Lakes and its sustainability division, Truterra LLC. In 2023, Scott was selected as one of GreenBiz’s 12 Women Cultivating Sustainable Food Systems and earned a U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award for her work in reducing dairy’s overall environmental footprint. Scott began her tenure at Midwest Dairy on March 13. (Company reports)

    Nestlé is selling a manufacturing plant and distribution center in Cayambe, Ecuador, to Peru-based Grupo Gloria. In addition to the facilities, the deal includes the brands La Vaquita, Yogu Yogu, Natura, Cereavena and Huesitos and the licensing of international brands La Lechera and Svelty. Grupo Gloria, which purchased Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Chilean dairy assets in 2022, said the Nestlé purchase further strengthens in Latin American portfolio. Nestlé said it would still do business in Ecuador in several food sectors, including infant formula and culinary products. (Just Drinks, 3/11/24)

    Nestlé announced it achieved a net reduction of 13.5% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2023, including a reduction of more than 15.3% in methane emissions. A significant portion of those reductions came from efforts in the dairy sector: The Swiss food company said more than two-thirds of its GHG emissions come from sourcing its ingredients and identified dairy as the single largest source of emissions. To reduce emissions on farms, Nestlé said it is helping its suppliers and the farmers it sources from transition to locally relevant regenerative agriculture practices based on five key pillars of action: diverse cropping systems and livestock integration, biodiversity, collective and landscape actions, soil health, and water security and quality. The company said it is on track to reach its goal of a 20% absolute reduction of GHG emissions by 2025. (Company reports)

    Savencia Fromage & Dairy Group reported a sales increase of 3.7% to €6.8 billion in 2023, despite a 3.7% dip in the fourth quarter. The French dairy group attributed the boost to organic growth of 11.6% and a structural effect of 2.1% related to the consolidation of Williner's activities from April 2023. Operating income decreased to €212.9 million, a 9.1% drop from 2022. The company cited higher raw materials and energies costs and lower industrial product prices for the drop. Looking forward, the company said it expects geopolitical and economic tensions will lead to a slowdown in the growth of world economies, and that constrained purchasing power will continue to impact consumption patterns.

    Australian dairy processor Beston Global Food Co. saw first-half 2024 earnings fall short of expectations, with a reported a loss after tax of AU$18.8 million (about US$12.4 million) in H1 FY23. Year-over-year net sales from continuing operations fell 4.2% for the same period. The company said the low numbers were due to the extremely favorable weather conditions on its contracted supplier dairy farms, which lifted milk intake 7 million liters above its forecast, significantly raising inventories and placing pressure on working capital. Beston said it plans to sell inventories built in H1 FY24 and expects cashflows to return closer to budget when milk supply normalizes and inventory levels are reduced. (Company reports)

    Ornua Ingredients is shutting down its processed cheese plant in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. The company cited the unforeseen cancellation of a manufacturing agreement with its sole customer. The plant is expected to close by the end of April. … A year after taking over the majority of the German dairy products business of Dutch dairy company FrieslandCampina, German dairy company Theo Müller said it will shut down its Heilbronn and Schefflenz Landliebe production sites by the summer of 2026. Müller attributed the closures to cost pressures, investment requirements and a challenging market situation. It plans to transfer production from the locations, including Landliebe-branded yogurts and desserts, to other sites in Germany. … Arkansas-based retail giant Walmart is building a milk processing facility in Robinson, Texas. The company said products from the new facility (its third plant) will serve more than 750 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs throughout the South, and it will enable Walmart “to meet the growing demand from customers for high-quality milk while providing transparency about where its products are sourced and making the supply chain more resilient.” … National New Markets Fund LLC, an affiliate of Los Angeles-based SDS Capital Group, has invested $17.5 million of its New Markets Tax Credit allocation into Minnesota-based farm co-op Bongards Creameries. The capital infusion will fund projects to increase Bongards’ milk intake capacity by almost one-third, from 4.1 million pounds to 5.4 million pounds per day. (Company reports; WKBN, 3/6/24)

    Denmark-based dairy cooperative Arla Foods announced it will invest €210m (about US$228 million) to bolster mozzarella cheese production at its Taw Valley site in the UK. The investment, which the company says marks Arla’s largest-ever investment in Great Britain, will enable the company to advance technologies and better meet the demands of customers who are seeking particular browning, melting or stretching characteristics. Arla said the majority of the mozzarella produced at the Taw Valley site will be exported to global foodservice customers. Construction is expected to be complete in 2026, with shipping commencing the following year. (Company reports)

    On the heels of Nestlé’s announcement that it achieved a net reduction of 13.5% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2023, Synlait Milk said it is partnering with the global food giant to help fund new emission reductions tools for its farmer suppliers. The New Zealand-based dairy processor said the partnership will focus on on-farm solutions to improve efficiency, including effluent management systems, emissions-friendly feed options, advanced soil testing, alternative fertilizers and tree planting. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. (Company reports)

    As part of an effort to accelerate its “Growth Action Plan,” Unilever announced it will spin off its ice cream business and launch a cost-cutting productivity plan that could result in the elimination of roughly 7,500 jobs globally. A company statement said because the ice cream business’ operating model is very different from its other categories, the separation will enable Unilever to focus better on the more “complementary” segments of nutrition, beauty and wellbeing, personal care and home care. A demerger is the most likely separation route for the ice cream business, though the company said other options will be considered. It expects to complete the separation by the end of 2025. Unilever said the productivity program will help the company create a simpler, more focused and higher-performing business model through technology-led interventions, process standardization and operational centers of excellence. It is expected to deliver cost savings of around €800 million (about US$871 million) over the next three years. (Company reports)

    Amid rising consumer demand, Mother Dairy, the commercial arm of India’s National Dairy Development Board, said it will invest Rs650 crore (about US$78.4 million) to set up two new plants for processing milk, fruits and vegetables. The plants are expected to be completed in two years. The milk supplier said it will also invest another Rs100 crore (about US$12.1 million) to improve and expand capacity in its existing plants. … Lithuania-based dairy company Vilvi Group said it is investing €50m (about US$54.6 million) to increase cheese production at its facility in Bauska, Latvia. The company did not say what cheese varieties it planned to expand, but it manufactures gouda, edam and other regional cheese types. It expects to complete the expansion by 2027. (The Hindu Business Line, 3/17/24; Just Food, 3/13/2024)

    French cheese giant Lactalis bought Portuguese cheesemaker and wholesaler Sequeira & Sequeira. The deal includes Sequeira’s plant in Lamego, Portugal, and its wholesale activities in Portugal, Mozambique and Cape Verde. The plant, Lactalis’s second in Portugal, produces a range of traditional Portuguese cheeses and fresh cheese under the Paiva label. … Indian private equity fund Kedaara Capital paid Rs1,200 crore (about US$144 million) for a majority stake in southern Indian ice cream maker Dairy Classics Ice Creams (known as Dairy Day). Dairy Day is in the midst of a project to expand capacity by 75%. The company supplies about 50,000 retailers in India. … Maola Local Dairies, a subsidiary of Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, acquired HP Hood’s extended shelf-life UHT dairy processing factory in Philadelphia. The plant produces coffee cream, half & half and other extended shelf-life products. (Company reports; The Economic Times, 3/21/24; Just Food, 3/20/24)

    Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) is partnering with India’s Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF)—also known as Amul—to manufacture Amul-branded fluid products in the United States. MMPA said the strategic partnership will enhance the co-op’s “growing and diversified product mix while utilizing our state-of-the-art technology.” The products will be sold in specialty stores throughout the Midwest and East Coast. … Local authorities approved a $120-million expansion plan for HP Hood’s manufacturing facility in Genesee County, New York. The project, originally announced in mid-2023, expands the company’s refrigerated warehouse and includes new processing capacity for extended shelf-life drinks. The estimated completion date is the first quarter of 2025. (Company reports; The Buffalo News, 3/7/24)

    April calendar

    Qatar-based vertically integrated dairy firm Baladna and the Algerian government are reportedly set to sign a deal to bolster domestic Algerian milk powder capacity by 200,000 MT annually. Media reports indicate Baladna would build a farm 250,000-acre dairy farm in Adrar, Algeria, but details on construction of a facility to process the milk remain unknown at press time. (USDEC Middle East/North Africa office; Doha News, 4/3/24)

    While Chinese milk production growth continued to steam ahead in 2023, farmgate prices dropped precipitously (continuing a downward trend from record highs that began in late 2021). The latest numbers show Chinese raw milk below the cost of production, with anecdotal reports of farms culling herds, a situation that could presage a milk production slowdown ahead. Those market dynamics show in the latest corporate reports of two of the country’s major milk producers.

    • Modern Farming Group increased YOY raw milk sales by over 9% in 2023 to 2.55 million MT. The company’s revenue grew 9.5% to US$1.86 billion. However, net profit decreased by 68% YOY to US$26 million. Modern Farming blamed the decrease on lower raw milk and beef prices.
    • China Shengmu saw 2023 revenue grow by 5.5% to US$486 million. Net profit, however, plummeted by 79% YOY to less than US$12 million. (USDEC staff; China office)

    A growing consumer focus on maintaining personal health and an increasing awareness of the health benefits of certain foods are driving new dairy product innovation designed to improve factors ranging from gut health and sleep to energy and focus. A few recent examples include:

    • Nestlé China launched a new milk powder for adults designed to support sleep quality. The powder is called Yiyang Wanning and is targeted at consumers aged 40-60. It contains tryptophan sourced from WPC, mulberry leaf extract, magnesium, zinc and protein, in a proprietary blend that the company says has shown to reduce the time to fall asleep by 15% in clinical studies. Nestlé officials linked the product launch to the Chinese government’s Healthy China 2030 initiative, a priority of which is to improve sleep quality and duration among Chinese adults.
    • In Japan, Meiji introduced a new functional milk beverage that the company claims supports eye health and improves sleep quality. Meiji Eye and Sleep W Support contains crocetin, a carotenoid derived from gardenia fruit and saffron, that Meiji says is easily absorbed by the body and has been reported to alleviate the eye’s declining ability to focus due to excessive computer work, as well as improve sleep depth and relieve sleepiness upon waking. The company is targeting young to middle-aged Japanese consumers based on research that shows an increasing number of this age group say they are experiencing fatigue, sluggishness and eye strain. It is currently available via Meiji’s home delivery service.
    • Japan’s Morinaga Milk plans to roll out several new Foods with Function Claims (FFC) targeting major health concerns of local consumers. The lineup include Bifidus Yogurt Bone Density Countermeasure, a dairy beverage that Morinaga bills as good for both bone and gut health.
    • And in response to the expectations of Chinese consumers to move beyond fortification and offer products that include clean labels and high protein content, Yili Group launched Changqing premium protein artisan yogurt. The company says the yogurt has 1.6 times the protein of regular yogurts but is made using a natural fermentation process that eliminates the need for adding protein powders or other supplemental ingredients. Yili expects demand for clean labels to increase among Chinese consumers in the coming year. (Dairy Reporter, 3/21/24; Food Navigator Asia, 3/19/24, 3/13/24; Nutra Ingredients-Asia, 3/19/24)

    As part of Synlait Milk Ltd.’s ongoing struggles, the company missed a NZ$130m (about US$77 million) debt repayment deadline on March 28. The company, which sought a letter of support from its largest shareholder (China’s Bright Dairy) was granted a repayment extension until July 15. Synlait’s half-year 2024 report signaled additional challenges ahead. While revenues increased 3%, the company reported a net loss of NZ$96 million (about US$57 million) for the six months ended Jan. 31, 2024. It received a letter of support from Bright that included a commitment to participate in a future equity raise and to extend a loan at the request of Synlait (subject to approval). But it lowered its guidance. Synlait’s previously announced guidance stated that EBITDA performance was expected to be flat or down compared to FY23—it now expects the FY24 EBITDA result to be significantly down on FY23. The company cited softening demand and/or margins across business units; adverse foreign exchange and product mix; and increased operating expenses for the expected decline. (Company reports; Just Food, 3/28/24)

    California biotech company, Triplebar Bio Inc., and Netherlands-based FrieslandCampina Ingredients announced they will produce lactoferrin through precision fermentation to meet increasing global demand. The collaboration is part of a multi-year, multi-country strategic partnership announced last year to develop and scale up the production of cell-based proteins using precision fermentation. (Food Navigator USA, 3/26/24)

    Oregon-based Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) President and CEO Patrick Criteser plans to step down this year. The TCCA Board of Directors selected David Booth, TCCA's current executive vice president of brand growth and commercialization, to succeed Criteser at the farmer-owned cooperative. TCCA said the move aligns with its long-standing succession plan. Criteser, who has led Tillamook since 2012, will remain CEO until later this year, while Booth immediately assumes the role of president. Upon Criteser's departure, Booth will move into the role of president and CEO. Booth joined TCCA in 2015 and has nearly 30 years of executive experience, including 18 years at ConAgra Foods. (Company reports)

    Milk product manufacturer Canada Royal Milk received regulatory approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada to begin producing infant formula in its Kingston, Ontario, facility. A statement from the company, which was set up by China’s Feihe Milk in 2019, said the first batch of infant formula is expected to be available throughout the Canadian marketplace this summer. (Company reports)

    Lactalis is consolidating its Australian yogurt and desserts operations by closing its plant in Echuca, Victoria, Australia, and moving production to its facility in Bendigo, Victoria. The company also said it would invest A$85 million (about US$56 million) in its supply chain in the state of Victoria over the next three years. ... As part of the sale of its Russian operations in response to the government takeover of assets in the country, French food giant Danone initiated the dissolution of DanoneBel, its last subsidiary in Belarus. (Just Food, 4/10/24; Kyiv Independent, 4/5/24)

    Beth Ford, CEO of USDEC member Land O’Lakes, was named to Time’s list of the “100 Most Influential People of 2024.” Time cites Fords work “at the forefront of a national effort to invest in America’s rural communities, from wider broadband coverage, to helping farmers adapt to the changing climate, to stronger trade efforts and more funding for agricultural R&D.” Click here to go directly to Ford’s entry.

    In a move designed to shift resources toward high-value products, New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra said it will close two of its dairy processing plants in its manufacturing sites in Waikato. A Fonterra official cited aging assets and declining productivity for the closures of Waitoa PDC (specialty powders) and the site’s coal center, along with two dryers at Te Rapa. The impacted operations will close near the end of this year. Efforts are being made to redistribute affected employees at the site, and Fonterra’s specialty nutrition dryer and UHT plants at Waitoa will continue to operate. Previous reports have indicated competition for milk is heating up in the Waikato region with the arrival of Olam Food Ingredients, a Singapore-based agricultural company that has been targeting Fonterra dairy farmers for supply. (Waikato Times, 4/11/24)

    New Zealand’s Westland Milk Products reported a profit of NZ$56 million (about US$33 million) in 2023. The company attributed the record profit to strong sales of high-value dairy products like butter. Westland CEO Richard Wyeth said the company’s backing from China’s Yili Group has enabled Westland to invest in infrastructure that will maximize revenue from high-margin products, including a new lactoferrin plant at the company's Hokitika plant. That development is expected to reduce reliance on traditional high-margin revenue sources like infant formula for China (as import demand in that sector softens).Wyeth also said the company’s Hokitika butter plant has allowed the company to expand strongly by providing Westland-produced butter to Walmart stores in the U.S, and Costco stores in the U.S., Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand, with more international regions planned. He added that the company will continue to divert more milk solids into higher-value products in 2024. (Company reports)

    Laticínios Porto Alegre, the Brazilian subsidiary of Emmi Group, will acquire a majority stake in the Verde Campo dairy, a Coca-Cola-owned manufacturer of dairy products, including yogurt and milk drinks made with whey protein. A statement from Emmi said the deal will allow Emmi to consolidate and improve its position in the Brazilian market while “reinforcing the value of our portfolio with a strong brand and a focus on functional premium dairy products.” … As part of its strategy to acquire businesses to grow its Better Nutrition platforms, Ireland-based nutrition firm Glanbia entered an agreement to acquire California-based natural and organic flavor maker Flavor Producers from Aroma Holding for an initial consideration of $300 million. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of FY 2024. Flavor Producers will operate under Glanbia Nutritionals. (Company reports; Food Manufacture, 4/15/24)

    Finland-based Valio said it will close two of its Finnish food and drinks manufacturing facilities and transfer those operations to its Riihimäki plant, which currently processes fresh dairy products and Valio’s Oddlygood brand of plant-based snacks. The company said that shutting the two sites would “improve production efficiency and profitability.” The closures are expected to occur no sooner than the first half of 2026. … U.S. biomass fermentation start-up Superbrewed Food said it has sold its Minnesota manufacturing facility and is looking for a larger site. The company, which recently formalized its manufacturing partnership with German ingredients giant Döhler, said the scale of production of its initial commercial volumes will exceed the capacity of its existing site. (Just Drinks, 4/9/24; FoodBev Media, 4/15/24)

    Denmark-based Arla Foods Ingredients reached an agreement to acquire the whey nutrition business of UK-based dairy company Volac, which specializes in whey ingredients for sports nutrition. The acquisition includes Volac’s whey processing facility in Felinfach, Wales, which Arla says will become a “global production hub and a cornerstone of an enhanced product offering in the performance, health and food sectors.” The acquisition is expected to be completed later this year and is subject to regulatory approval. (Company reports)

    In its Climate Transition Action Plan released last week, Minnesota-based General Mills said, “accelerated action to reduce methane is essential to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.” As a result, the company said it is working to reduce methane emissions on dairy farms by 40% by 2030 through manure management, rotational grazing, feed optimization, and cow health and longevity. Other planned actions include advancing and scaling whole-farm dairy principles across supply sheds and advancing adoption of regenerative agriculture. In December of 2023, General Mills joined the newly formed Dairy Methane Action Alliance, which is led by the Environmental Defense Fund and also includes Danone, Kraft Heinz, Nestlé, Group Bel and Lactalis USA. The company said through the alliance, it commits to “transparent accounting and public disclosure of methane emissions within our dairy supply chain and to creating a comprehensive methane reduction action plan in 2024.” (Company reports; Food Dive, 4/18/24)

    In its FY 2023 annual results, French dairy giant Lactalis reported revenue grew 4.3% from the previous year to €29.5 billion (about US$31.5 billion), and consolidated net profit grew a “weak” 11% to €428 million (about US$457 million). A company statement cited inflation-driven changes in consumer purchasing behaviors—including higher demand for private label brands—for the performance. Lactalis also noted a slight increase in profit margin, an uptick credited to “organic growth and the continued strengthening of Lactalis in North America.” The group invested more than €920 million (about US$982.3 million) in 2023 to “develop new products, modernize its dairies and cheese factories in France and North America and reduce its environmental impact.” (Company reports, Just Food, 4/19/24)

    Emirates Industry for Camel Milk and Products, which is based in Dubai and operates as ‘Camelicious,’ is investing in Asian expansion, with a focus on China. The company claims demand for its camel milk in China has surpassed domestic demand in the UAE. Currently, two-thirds of Camelicious’ production of milk powder is exported to China. “We have also grown our exports to Singapore and Malaysia in recent years and are now looking to expand our footprint in markets such as Japan and South Korea,” said CEO Mutasher A. Latef Albadry. Camelicious is optimistic of 15-20% organic growth annually and is looking at franchise partners to sell its brand in the target markets. (USDEC Middle East and North Africa offices)

    Dallas-based Daisy Brand plans to build a new sour cream and cottage cheese dairy processing facility in Boone, Iowa. The $708 million investment will bring 255 jobs to the community. … California-based Chipotle Mexican Grill opened its first outlet in the Middle East this week in the largest shopping mall in Kuwait City. The location is run by Kuwait-based franchise operator Alshaya Group, which says it plans to open a restaurant in Dubai later this year and has four new locations planned for the region in 2024. … Weeks after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Chicago, Illinois-based Oberweis Dairy disclosed plans to close its North Aurora, Illinois, plant. Oberweis also said it received a bid to purchase its operating assets from the founder of Chicago-based dairy company Dutch Farms. (Dairy Herd Management, 4/18/24; Bloomberg, 4/22/24; FoodBev Media, 4/24/24)

    May calendar

    Darigold named Allan Huttema as its CEO. Huttema had been appointed interim CEO in December to replace Joe Coote, who left the dairy company to return to his native Australia. Huttema has been an Idaho dairy farmer and Northwest Dairy Association member-owner for more than 25 years. The board said it chose Huttema for continuity of leadership and because it believed “a strong connection between the company and its farmer-owners is important as we look to complete our Pasco project and build the on-farm capacity we will need as we begin operations there.” Prior to being named interim CEO, Huttema served as a Darigold director for nine years and chairman for the previous three. Tony Freeman, who had been vice chairman of the board, was chosen to replace Huttema as new chair. (Company reports)

    Following extensive 2023 losses, Belgium-based dairy cooperative Milcobel said it will reorganize the company to make it more flexible, efficient and resilient for the future. A statement from the company, which saw a net loss of 3.7% in 2023, cited rising costs and the turbulent dairy market for the need for flexibility, adding that the major financial impact the company incurred from the implementation of an SAP software package in its Consumer Products division revealed the need for a “different organizational structure in order to achieve greater synergies.” The reorganization plan includes integrating its dairy units to work together more efficiently in a flatter structure, and scaling back milk powder activities beginning in September of this year. (Company reports)

    Challenging global market conditions ranging from inflation to growing market competition weighed on Irish dairy companies in 2023, as is seen in their most recent financial performance results.

    • In its latest annual report, Ireland’s Lakeland Dairies saw 2023 revenues drop €300,000 to €1.6 billion (about US$1.7 billion) and operating profits sink from €32.5 million (about US$35 million) to €14.8 million (about US$16 million), compared to the previous year. The dairy processing co-op said these results were significantly influenced by the “global dairy market collapse.” The co-op said its Food Ingredients business had been “most exposed” but that its Consumer Foods division saw “solid demand throughout the year on the domestic front and inroads being made internationally.” Looking forward, Lakeland Dairies Chairperson Niall Matthews said recent market volatility and regulatory and policy uncertainty has prompted the co-op to shift its strategic focus. “Following rapid dairy industry growth and the expansion of milk production and processing over the past decade, the industry is transitioning from a supply volume perspective into more value-added product positioning,” he said. “We are making very definite steps to move up the value-add chain to support the long-term operations of our farm families.”
    • In its FY 2023 results, Irish dairy cooperative Ornua reported turnover dipped almost 1% from 2022, and operating profit dropped by 8%. The owner of the Kerrygold brand called the results a “strong performance” in light of “continued market pressures and evolving consumer demand and buying behavior across all key markets.” As part of its efforts to grow the brand globally, Ornua opened a new flagship butter production facility in 2023 that doubled its Kerrygold Park cream processing capacity, enabling it to produce nearly 1 million retail packs per day. Looking ahead, the company said it expects the dairy market will stabilize in the first half of the year before firming in the second half, and that global milk pricing is likely to be stable for 2024.
    • Ingredient, flavor and cheese producer Carbery Group also reported a decline in turnover and operating profit for 2023. Group turnover for the company was down 11% from 2022, and Group EBITA dropped 22% from the previous year, results the company characterized as “resilient in an unpredictable market.” Factors cited by the Cork-based company as affecting performance included consumer cost-of-living concerns, high dairy supply from 2022, geopolitical tensions and supply chain disruptions. The company report noted the opening of the Carbery Group Asia Business and Innovation Centre in Singapore as a “significant investment in the region.”
    • In its FY 2023 annual results, Aurivo Dairy Ingredients reported revenue down by 16.4% compared to its record year in 2022, and operating profit off by 71.4%. While the company said its Dairy Ingredients business experienced a “very tough” 2023 due to market conditions, its commercial and new product development team continues to “implement our strategic goal of broadening our product range and the customers we serve.” Examples noted in the report include growth in Central America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, which now make up more than 40% of annual sales, and two new Aurivo powder brands that are gaining traction in global markets.
    • Arrabawn reported a 20% drop in 2023 turnover and a record operating profit that jumped 12.5% from the previous year. The co-op cited difficult weather conditions and high input costs for the revenue drop but said despite falling markets, 2023 was “one of the most successful in the history of Arrabawn.” CEO Conor Ryan said performance was aided by substantial investments made to Arrabawn’s manufacturing business, including a new entrance and milk intake area at its headquarters. Looking forward, he said the company hopes to complete upgrades to the plant this year, and that “our capacity and ability to produce a range of dairy ingredients on the Nenagh site allows us to widen our network of customers and markets.” (Company reports)

    Minneapolis-based General Mills is reportedly exploring the sale of its North America yogurt business, which includes its Yoplait brand. Insiders estimate the deal could potentially be worth $2 billion. … After buying a 10% stake in Lithuanian dairy business Rokiškio Sūris in 2017, New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra said it will sell its shares as part of a “strategic long-term review of investments.” Rokiškio Sūris, which makes butter, cheese, milk powders and whey protein, plans to buy back the shares, which are valued at €7.9 million (about US$8.5 million), this month. … Simply Good Foods, a Denver-based developer, marketer and seller of branded nutritional foods and snacking products, announced it will purchase Only What You Need (OWYN), a leading plant-based ready-to-drink protein shake brand, for $280 million. … Chinese billionaire Xianfeng Lu and his Moon Lake Investments business plan to sell Australia’s largest dairy farming operation. Moon Lake purchased dairy producer Van Diemen’s Land Co. (VDL) in 2016, but has faced significant criticism about effluent issues, alleged animal welfare practices and farm management problems. The businessman has already sold off around half of the land (originally 47,000 acres) and more than a quarter of VDL’s estimated 19,000 dairy cows. After Fonterra cancelled a major milk supply contract with the company this February, it has reportedly culled at least another 700 head. (Company reports; Australian Financial Review, 4/29/24; Reuters, 4/26/24; The DairyNews, 4/19/24)

    As part of increasing efforts to develop products for the growing number of young, single Chinese consumers who live alone, Pizza Hut China reportedly launched a new product called a Pizza Burger. The burger, which includes bread made from pizza dough and topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, is available in four flavors. … Saudi Arabi’s Almunajem Foods Co. is building a $42-million food factory to produce meat and dairy products. The company did not offer details on what types of dairy. It expects to complete construction in the first quarter of 2026. (USDEC China Office; USDEC Middle East/North Africa office)

    Chicago-based Mars Inc. announced the launch of a sustainable dairy plan as part of its efforts to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% by 2030. As part of the plan, which commits $47 million over three years, Mars will work with a cohort of industry partners to implement on-farm interventions focused on areas including enteric methane reduction, efficient manure management and sustainable feed production. It includes a collaboration with Netherlands-based dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina for a program that will dedicate a group of farms to Mars' dairy supply and serve as a platform where new practices and innovations can be refined and scaled-up, with an ultimate goal of broader adoption across the entire co-op. (Company reports)

    U.K.-based dairy cooperative Dale Farm said it is investing £70 million (about US$75 million) in its Dunmanbridge, Northern Ireland, cheddar processing facility. The expansion will include enhanced technologies and equipment that the company says will boost production by 20,000 MT per year to meet growing customer demand across the UK, Europe and beyond. The expanded operations are expected to begin in February 2025. (Company reports)

    Some major Chinese dairy processors struggled amid slow growth in 2023, a year marked by a continuing low birth rate and other challenges in the sector. Even processors based in nearby markets but serving China cited difficult Chinese market conditions for their own struggles.

    In Japan, Meiji Holdings cut its forecast profit due to impairment charges that the dairy company said it is incurring “on non-current assets related to the drinking milk and yogurt business operated by subsidiaries in China.” In a company filing with the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Meiji said, “the sales environment for the drinking milk and yogurt business in China has been significantly changed. The price competition in the market intensified, leading to a decline in our profitability.”

    • Shanghai Milkground Food Tech net profit dropped nearly 54% in 2023 while revenues fell 16% from the previous year. The company said the rising cost of raw materials resulted in a year-on-year decline in the gross profit margin of the company's cheese segment. In 2023, the cheese segment accounted for nearly 99% of the company’s total gross profit, up 3% compared to the previous year. Revenue dropped from ready-to-consume nutrition products (such as lollipop-shaped cheese) and “cooking cheese” (such as cheese slices). In the future, the company plans to diversify the consumption scenarios of cheese products. The company has seen some slight improvements in the first quarter of 2024, with down only 7% YOY and net profit up 71%.
    • Mengniu Dairy’s profits dropped 9% YOY to US$664 million in 2023, a decline the company attributed to higher tax expenditures and reduced earnings. Revenue lifted 6.5% YOY to US$13.6 billion. The company said its core fluid milk business experienced continuous growth, driven in part by market share gains made by its flagship “Milk Deluxe” product. It also noted its global expansion, including the growth of its ice cream business in Southeast Asia, where it says its Aice brand reached the top market share position in Indonesia while also entering Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
    • In its FY 2023 report, China Feihe said group revenue declined 8% and group profit dropped 33% from the previous year. The Chinese organization blamed China’s low birth rate and competitiveness in the dairy industry for the decreases. Feihe’s infant milk formula business, which comprises more than 90% of its entire business, saw revenues drop 10%. But its other dairy products, including liquid milk and adult milk powder, saw revenue climb 23%. Looking ahead, Feihe Chairman Leng Youbin believes the infant formula milk market in China will remain stable and be driven by premium products in 2024. (USDEC China office; Company reports; Just Food, 4/9/24; Food Navigator Asia; 4/9/24 Yicai Global, 3/27/24)

    Irish dairy co-operative Tirlán reported 2023 results the company characterized as “reflecting a resilient performance during an extremely challenging year for the Irish dairy, grain and wider agriculture sector.” Turnover fell 17% from the previous year, a drop the company attributed to lower commodity market prices. Profits fell 5%, with the company citing factors including inflationary pressures and its commitment to supporting farmers through a difficult year. The company said Tirlán’s dairy business continued to grow new markets, noting in particular the expansion of its Avonmore brand Professional UHT range in China and Vietnam, and entering the new markets of Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines in Southeast Asia. Looking forward, the company said it will continue to focus on adding value to its portfolio through ongoing product innovation to grow international markets. (Company reports)

    Netherlands-based FrieslandCampina moved its UK headquarters and opened a new technology center in Malaysia as part of a push to upgrade its overseas operations. A desire to create a “more modern and dynamic” workspace ahead of expanding in the U.K. and Ireland led the company to relocate its U.K. headquarters from West Sussex to London. In Malaysia, the company’s new Technology Excellence Centre will focus on expanding global IT initiatives to impact the future operations of FrieslandCampina’s seven business groups. Operations at the center, which is located at FrieslandCampina subsidiary Dutch Lady Milk Industries, include data and analytics, cloud and platform engineering services, and IT service management. (Food Manufacture, 4/30/24; Company reports)

    As part of its efforts to strengthen its Medical Nutrition portfolio in the U.S., French dairy giant Danone completed the acquisition of Functional Formularies, an Ohio-based whole foods tube feeding business. A Danone official said the deal will make the company “even better positioned to support the nutritional needs of tube-fed families and patients.” (Company report)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group announced it was exploring divestment options for its global consumer business and its integrated businesses Fonterra Oceania and Fonterra Sri Lanka—operations that collectively accounted for NZ$7.2 billion (about US$4.7 billion) in revenues in 2023. “We believe we can grow further value for the co-op by focusing on being a B2B dairy nutrition provider, working closely with customers through our high-performing Ingredients and Foodservice channels,” said CEO Miles Hurrell. It would be a massive change for Fonterra that includes selling several domestic and global retail brands, such as Anchor, Mainland, Anlene, Anmum and Fernleaf. The Fonterra Oceania business also includes foodservice and ingredients segments, and Fonterra Sri Lanka sells to the foodservice sector. The business also includes 17 manufacturing sites (nine in Australia and others in New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia). Together, all the operations on the chopping block accounted for 19% of Fonterra’s earnings in the first half of fiscal 2024. “A divestment of these assets would help create a simpler, higher performing co-op with our focus on our core Ingredients and Foodservice business and doing what we do best,” said Hurrell. Fonterra said it had previously received unsolicited interest in parts of the businesses. The company plans to appoint an advisor to assist with divestment options. The process should take 12-18 months and require shareholder approval. In conjunction with the announcement, Fonterra Global Markets CEO Judith Swales is stepping down effective July 31, 2024. (Company reports)

    Canada-based Saputo announced that President and CEO Lino Saputo will transition to the role of executive chair of the board later this year. The company said Carl Colizza, currently president and COO for North America, will step into the role as the new president and CEO. Colizza joined Saputo in 1998 as an engineer, and has held several senior management positions in the Dairy Division, including leading the Dairy Divisions in Canada and Argentina. He was named President and COO of North America in 2019. The transition is scheduled to take effect on Aug. 9, the day of the company’s annual general meeting. (Company reports)

    The British arm of Denmark’s Arla Foods announced plans to invest more than £300 million (about US$324 million) across five of its UK sites in 2024. The investment will update and expand Arla’s dairies in an effort to create more opportunities for British milk and cheese production. In a company statement, Arla said the investments will allow its Lockerbie Creamery to expand and grow over the coming years. In Stourton, the upgrades will expand Arla’s capabilities in ESL milk, as well as introduce a capability to supply milk in cardboard cartons. Aylesbury, which is the U.K.’s biggest fresh milk site, will get additional automated box packing capabilities, which will give customers greater flexibility with packaging formats. At Arla’s Taw Valley Creamery, the company will incorporate state-of-the-art technology and new jobs that will enable the business to export mozzarella around the world. Arla said it will explore further milk powder export opportunities related to investments at its Westbury facility. (Company reports)

    To promote sustainable development practices across the Sino-French dairy industry, China’s Mengniu Dairy Co. and France-based Bel Group signed a “Sustainable Development Cooperation Proposal.” Under the agreement, both companies will collaborate to address climate issues by sharing best sustainable development and food decarbonization practices, including low-carbon farming practices, nutritional awareness programs and the fight against food waste. Joint initiatives outlined in the agreement include research and development to promote sustainable and regenerative agriculture practices; sharing expertise and applying it to their dairy production processes to optimize carbon emission management; and exchanging solutions for sustainable dairy product packaging and adopting more sustainable packaging processes and materials. The companies also said they will collaborate on public welfare initiatives including the “Nutrition for All” campaign for children and adolescents. (Company reports)

    In response to a drop in milk volumes, Irish dairy co-operative Dairygold said it will reduce cheese production over the coming summer months. The processor said the decision was made in response to a 9% decrease in milk output this year compared to the same period in 2023, and an anticipated decline of 7% for the full year. Irish dairy farmers have been struggling with extreme wet weather in 2024, and year-over-year milk deliveries throughout the country have been down significantly since the last quarter of 2023. A company spokesman said these challenges are making it “necessary for us to adapt and redistribute our milk volumes to other areas of our operations.” (The Dairy News, 5/21/24; Agriland, 5/20/24)

    China’s Yili Industrial Group Co. reported a record-breaking operating income of 126.2 billion yuan (about US$17.6 billion) for 2023. The company said its liquid milk business posted an operating income of 85.5 billion yuan (about US$11.9 billion) and that revenue from its milk powder and dairy products increased 5% from the previous year. Yili also said its overseas business increased by 10% from the previous year, with products sold to more than 60 countries and regions, including notable growth in Southeast Asia and Africa. The company credited improvements in its global supply chain network and continuous adoption of new technologies for its performance, including the ongoing construction of the new lactoferrin factory of its Westland Dairy subsidiary and the development of a new “lactoferrin directional extraction and protection technology, which increased the lactoferrin retention rate in UHT milk from 10% to over 90%.” (Company reports)

    After announcing in January that it was assessing options for the release of its interest in its Froneri ice cream joint venture with Nestlé, Paris-based private equity firm PAI Partners is reportedly in talks with investors to maintain its 50% stake in the business. Reports indicate the company is exploring a continuation fund to house the investment. (Bloomberg, 5/10/24)

    Mexican ice cream brand Tropicale Foods said it will close its Modesto, California, plant and shift production to its existing facilities in Lubbock, Texas, and Ontario, California. The closure, which will affect nearly 300 employees, is expected to occur on July 19. … Norway-based Kavli introduced a new dairy brand in the UK with the launch of a line of whipped cheddar spreads. The new products are currently available in Tesco stores, with plans for further rollouts later this year. (The Dairy News, 5/21/24; The Modesto Bee,5/16/24)

    Finland-based Valio is investing more than €60 million (about US$65.2 million) to enhance its cheese production plant in Lapinlahti. The investment includes adding about 22,000 square feet to its existing facilities, replacing outdated manufacturing equipment, renewing packaging operations and equipment, and adding a new power substation and back-up power. Construction on the plant, which is one of Valio’s largest, will begin this summer, with the enhanced operations to begin in spring of 2026. (Company reports)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Anlene business in Indonesia launched a new adult milk powder containing habbatussauda, a black seed with many purported health benefits that is revered by Muslim consumers. The seed, which is commonly called “black seed” or “black cumin,” has been used medicinally for centuries in Southeast Asia and claims to offer health benefits ranging from heart health and weight loss to boosting memory, fighting inflammation, and treating coughs and colds. The product, called Anlene Gold 5X habbatussauda, was soft launched in more than 2,700 stores across Indonesia during the month of Ramadan, with a formal product launch to follow. (FoodNavigator-Asia, 5/21/24)

    To meet increasing global demand for medical nutrition, French dairy giant Danone invested €70 million (about US$76 million) in its Steenvoorde production facility in France. The majority of the investment (about US$65 million) will go toward producing roughly 30 recipes of the company’s oral nutritional supplement under its Nutricia specialized nutrition range. The remaining investment will be used for new infrastructure, including a biomass boiler that aims to reduce the site’s carbon footprint by 70%. The site is expected to produce nearly 20 million liters of medical nutrition products per year. (The Manufacturer, 5/23/24)

    In a move to strategically expand into adjacent segments of the dairy market. Italy-based dairy group Sabelli has acquired fellow Italian cheese producer Stella Bianca from Mila Cooperative. The deal is expected to be completed next month. … Private equity firm Hoffmann Family of Companies (HF Companies) bought Oberweis Dairy and its assets in a bankruptcy auction. The Hoffmann bid beat an initial offer for Oberweis from the owner of dairy and egg marketer Dutch Farms. HF Companies said it did not plan to close the Oberweis processing plant in Aurora, Illinois. (NBC Chicago, 5/30/24; Just Food, 5/24/24)

    Japan’s Meiji held an opening ceremony to celebrate the start-up of its new US$90-million ice cream plant in Shanghai (which began commercial production in late March). … Fonterra’s Anchor Food Professionals is switching distributors in China. Effective Aug. 1, the company will partner with Maihi Ltd., a subsidiary of Uni-China Business Group that specializes in food trading and foodservice. Anchor currently works with Sims Trading. The new relationship is expected to further help increase penetration in the Chinese bakery sector. … Yum China signed a cooperation agreement with state-owned China Supply and Trade Group to focus on expansion in lower-tier cities. … Israel-based food tech startup NewMoo has developed a new technology that uses plant molecular farming to produce casein proteins that it claims can be used to create animal-free cheese alternatives. Click here to read more about the innovation and how it differs from current dairy-free production methods. (USDEC China office; FoodBev Media, 5/28/24)

    June calendar

    New Zealand dairy producer Synlait Milk continues to face difficulties as it works to overcome high costs, declining sales and unpaid debt. More than half of its 300 suppliers have reportedly notified the company that they intend to stop supplying milk after their current contracts expire. A company statement downplayed the potential exodus, saying the notices signal that the farmers “want to see Synlait’s balance sheet deleveraged, so advanced rates can be lifted further, and submitting a cessation notice provides an option, rather than a clear intention to sign with other processors.” To reduce its debt, the company is working to sell its manufacturing plants in Auckland and Pōkeno, and is also looking to sell its consumer Dairyworks business, which owns brands such as Rolling Meadow. Synlait also agreed to the terms of a NZ$130 million (about US$80) loan with its major shareholder, China’s Bright Dairy (subject to a pending shareholder vote). The company expects to draw down the full amount of the loan to meet its prepayment obligation to the company's senior lenders, which is due on July 15. (Company reports; The Post, 6/3/24; Radio New Zealand, 6/3/24)

    Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad (DLMI), a subsidiary of Netherlands-based Royal FrieslandCampina (RFC), opened a new dairy plant in Malaysia that the company says will be able to double its production capacity to meet the growing demand for high-quality and nutritious dairy products in the region. Previous statements from DLMI said the new production facility “will revolutionize our supply chain processes to enable us to produce DLMI’s range of nutritional products, with the added scalable capacity to manufacture other innovative variations in the future driven by consumer trends and occasions.” The company said the plant is also designed to achieve a 30% reduction in energy and water consumption by 2030, compared to its 2022 baseline. (Company reports, Dairy Industries, 4/20/21)

    Idaho-based Suntado opened a 190,000 sq.-ft. production facility in its headquarters city of Burley (see Global Dairy eBrief, 3/24/23). The new plant can handle more than 450 MT of raw milk per day, processing it into shelf-stable and ESL milk as well as other fluid dairy products. The site opening comprises phase one of a three-phase project the company projects will triple future capacity. (Food Engineering, 5/30/24)

    Müller UK & Ireland, the British division of German dairy manufacturer Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller, is acquiring West Lancashire-based Yew Tree Dairy, a maker of milk powder, fresh milk and cream. Muller plans to use Yew Tree’s powder capabilities (Yew Tree operates a drying facility in Skelmersdale, West Lancashire) to become a major producer and exporter of powdered milk products. “This acquisition will enable us to tap into global dairy consumption growth, unlock additional export opportunities and continue to drive supply chain resilience,” said Rob Hutchison, CEO at Müller Milk & Ingredients. (Company reports)

    Ireland’s Lakeland Dairies is asking £9.5-11 million (US$12-14 million) for its site in Banbridge, Co. Down, Northern Ireland. The co-op shuttered the butter manufacturing and powder storage facility (and two other sites) earlier this year as part of a restructuring plan announced last fall. Sweden-based dairy alternative company Oatly confirmed it has scrapped plans for its first UK plant-based beverage facility. The company said it is “identifying new ways to serve the UK market [by] utilizing existing facilities across Europe.” … California-based dairy processor Clover Sonoma named John Coletta as its new CEO effective July 1. Coletta, who has 35 years of food industry experience, succeeds retiring CEO Ken Gott. (Company reports; BBC, 5/30/24; Agriland, 5/30/24)

    Citing a decrease in milk production volumes, German dairy co-op DMK Group said it will close its Dargun site and reduce capacity at its sites in Edewecht, Hohenwestedt and Everswinkel. A company statement said optimizing its plant structure and product portfolio must include strengthening products with higher added value and reducing those with lower returns, and that the affected sites mainly produce “standard products.” The company expects to implement the measures, which affect roughly 150 employees, by spring 2025. (Company reports)

    In its results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended March 31, 2024, Canadian dairy processor Saputo reported revenues increased 1.7% and net earnings dropped 42.1%. Chairman, President and CEO Lino A. Saputo said the company has completed the bulk of the major capital projects under its Global Strategic Plan (GSP) and is ramping up commercial production at several of its facilities. U.S. priorities for the near-term include executing on the planned closures of the Lancaster, Wisconsin; Big Stone, South Dakota; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and South Gate, California, facilities and continuing to ramp up its new automated cut-and-wrap facility in Franklin, Wisconsin. Looking ahead globally, the company said it expects global demand for dairy products to remain moderate, alongside subdued international dairy market prices due to macroeconomic conditions. Priorities included in its GSP include driving retail volume through consumer advertising and innovation, onboarding new private label customers in Europe, and consolidating and rebalancing its business between domestic and export activities in Australia. (Company reports)

    Japanese probiotic beverage producer Yakult Honsha will open a second factory in the Philippines to meet growing demand for its Yakult probiotic milk beverage. The $34-million facility, which is located in El Salvador City, is expected to ultimately produce nearly 2.8 million bottles per day following a “facility enhancement.” (Just Food, 6/5/24)

    Three months after acquiring Sovos Brands Inc.Campbell Soup Co. said it will sell the Noosa yogurt brand from the portfolio. At the time of the acquisition, CEO Mark Clouse said yogurt would not be “core to our strategy.” (Global Food Industry News, 6/6/24)

    Fonterra Co-operative Group is building a new application center in Wuhan in China’s Hubei Province. It will be Fonterra’s sixth such site in China. The company expects to open it this September. … Mona Dairy, the UK-based cheese manufacturer that launched in 2022 as a net-zero dairy that aims to pay premium prices to carbon-neutral farmers, has been placed into administration. In May, the dairy’s owners announced they were unable to secure the funding necessary to continue current operations. The dairy’s new joint administrators said they were focused on finding a solution for the business and invited any interested parties to come forward. (USDEC China office; BBC, 6/10/24)

    French companies Danone and Michelin have teamed up with North Carolina-based biotechnology startup DMC Biotechnologies and Crédit Agricole Centre France to create a biotechnology platform with the goal of accelerating the development of precision fermentation. The Biotech Open Platform plans to enable the scale-up of products and processes already tested in the laboratory. The initial investment is €16 million (about US$17 million), and by 2025 the project plans to install an initial demo-scale production line, including a fermenter and purification equipment. Additional equipment is planned for subsequent years, including a second production line. (Company reports)

    In the year ended December 2023, Oceania Dairy posted a loss of NZ$19 million (about US$12 million) and saw revenue drop 14% from the previous year. The New Zealand-based dairy processor, which is owned by China’s Yili Group, said in its annual report that revenue from customers within the Yili Group was down from the previous year, while revenue from external customers and other revenue, including milk sales, increased. (eDairy News, 6/10/23)

    Foodservice provider Bidcorp U.K. acquired UK-based ice cream manufacturer Northern Bloc Ice Cream. Northern Bloc currently supplies retail and foodservice customers including Booths, the National Trust and Wagamama. (Yahoo Finance, 6/17/24)

    Australian Dairy Nutritionals appointed Mahi Sundaranathan as its new CEO. Sundaranathan, who replaces the recently resigned CEO Peter Skene, has more than 20 years’ experience in international markets including senior roles at the a2 Milk Co., Danone MG Australia, and Fonterra brands Australia. … Lactalis is closing its manufacturing plant in Miercurea Ciuc, Romania, and will focus on its four remaining sites in the country. (Company reports; Just Food, 6/17/24)

    New Zealand’s Fonterra Co-operative Group disclosed several changes to its executive team. To help lead the co-op’s shift in strategic direction, Richard Allen, Fonterra’s president Atlantic, was appointed to the role of president, Global Markets Ingredients, and René Dedoncker, Fonterra’s managing director, Oceania, was appointed to the role of managing director, Global Markets Consumer and Foodservice. In addition, the co-op said Emma Parsons, managing director, Strategy & Optimization, was appointed to the role of CEO for Kotahi Logistics LP, a joint venture between Fonterra and Silver Fern Farms that works to ensure New Zealand maintains a sustainable and secure supply chain to remain competitive on the world stage. (Company reports)

    As part of its ongoing efforts to revitalize its dairy sector, the Gombe State Government in Nigeria announced a strategic partnership with Moroccan dairy company COPAG Bladna to tap into the state’s livestock resources and foster a profitable dairy business. The announcement came during Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya’s recent visit to COPAG’s largest dairy factory in Taroudant, Agadir, Morocco, which was part of an investment mission aimed at replicating COPAG’s successful dairy model on a smaller scale in Gombe. (USDEC MENA Office; Dairy Business Africa, 6/10/24)

    Trade tensions within the East African Community (EAC) between Uganda and Kenya continue, despite a recent commitment from both nations to improve relations and unlock trade barriers. Kenya is historically Uganda’s largest dairy export market, but dairy farmers in surplus producer Uganda are facing stalled growth due to trade restrictions, including a ban on permits for exports to Kenya. Last year, the Kenya Dairy Board announced a halt on milk powder imports to protect its local dairy sector. In May, Ugandan President Museveni and Kenyan President William Ruto issued a joint statement advocating for removing quotas on intra-EAC trade goods, including dairy products, but so far, the restrictive measures remain in place. (USDEC MENA Office; Dairy Business Africa, 6/18/24)

    Kerry Group Ireland opened a new Cheesestrings facility in Charleville, County Cork. The Kerry Group subsidiary’s new plant, which is expected to boost production by 50%, received financial support from the Irish government’s Capital Investment Scheme for Agriculture Products. Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment of Ireland, Peter Burke, said the investment will help ensure that Kerry Dairy Ireland “has the world-leading processing capabilities needed to continue to grow the brand globally while directly supporting the local economy here in Charleville through the creation of jobs.” (FoodBev Media, 6/20/24)

    French dairy giant Danone announced its mid-term strategy and value creation journey for the 2025-2028 period, which includes building on the fundamentals of science and innovation, operational and executional discipline, and proactive portfolio. The company said it will increase its focus on Health and Nutrition by gradually pivoting the way it addresses its categories—including Protein and Gut Health; broadening some of its business models; accelerating in Away-from-home and Medical Nutrition; and further expanding its geographic footprint. (Company reports)

    Canadian dairy company Saputo completed the sale of its fresh milk processing facilities in Laverton North, Victoria and Erskine Park, New South Wales, to Australian supermarket, retail and consumer services chain Coles Group Ltd. A company statement said the transaction, which is valued at approximately CDN$95 million (about US$70 million), is part of Saputo’s overall network optimization strategy, which includes adapting its manufacturing footprint to focus on higher-value growth opportunities. The two sites will continue to process fresh milk products. (Company reports)

    Germany-based dairy processor DMK agreed to acquire the remaining stake in Polish sales and distribution business Mlekoma Dairy from its venture partner, Saudi Arabia-based Saudia Dairy & Foodstuff Co. (Sadafco). A DMK spokesperson said the co-op is looking to promote its branded business in Poland and will make an effort to grow its Milram brand in the country’s foodservice and retail markets. Spain-based Idilia Foods acquired 50% of local dairy-drinks business Cacaolat from Barcelona-based beer company Damm. The agreement, which will create the largest smoothie group in Spain, is part of a move to further accelerate growth in the dairy shake market at a national and international level. … As part of its strategy to strengthen its presence in the U.K. market, Germany-based dairy company Ehrmann acquired Cornwall, England-based Trewithen Dairy. (Company reports; Just Food, 6/26/24; Just Food, 6/24/24)

    New Zealand dairy processor Miraka signed a new supply and research agreement with Chinese dairy processor Theland to supply a new range of premium “low-carbon,” A2 milk products. … Irish dairy co-operative Tirlán announced a cost reduction program that includes offering a “voluntary redundancy scheme” that may put about 150 jobs at risk. The co-op cited rising operational costs and a decline in milk supply volumes for the move. … Five western Canadian dairy co-ops are building a new C$75 million (about US$55 million) “dewatering” plant in Alberta under the name Dairy Innovation West. The plant will be able to concentrate up to 300 million liters of milk per year, reducing transportation costs to manufacturing facilities. (Company reports; Dairy Global, 6/25/24; Rural News Group, 6/25/24)

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    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.

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