Milk Processors Are Going Bankrupt as Americans Ditch Dairy


    Borden and Dean file Chapter 11 within weeks of each other

    Elsie the Cow has lost ground to soy, nut and oat beverages


By Olivia Rockeman and Lydia Mulvany, Bloomberg

January 10, 2020  


Two of the largest U.S. milk processors have gone bust within eight weeks of each other, and one of the main causes turns out to be pretty fundamental.


“While milk remains a household item in the U.S., people are simply drinking less of it,” Dean Foods Co. said in its November bankruptcy filing. “The decline in dairy sales has occurred in conjunction with the rise of oat, nut, soy and other alternative ‘milk’ products at retailers and food service locations across the country.”


Circumstances were so similar that Borden Dairy Co. used the same language almost verbatim in court papers this week to describe its predicament.


The rest of the milk-processing business is feeling the pain, too. Companies like HP Hood LLC and the former Elmhurst Dairy changed their product mixes or ditched milk altogether. Dairy milk consumption per capita -- which excludes powdered forms -- fell more than 25% from 2000 to 2018, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Critics point to dairy as a prime source of saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease. Vegan groups have even taken to Twitter, using the hashtag #DairyIsScary to promote a diet free of cow milk for health and environmental reasons.


Scary Dairy ...


Cheese Demand ... 


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