Dairy Product Manufacturers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 1,200 dairy product manufacturers in the US produce dairy products from raw milk, processed milk, and dairy substitutes. Fluid milk products include milk of varying fat content, milk substitutes, cream, cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt. Other major product categories are cheese and cheese-substitute products; dry, condensed, and evaporated products; creamery butter; and ice cream and frozen dessert products.

Food Safety Compliance

Dairy foods are among the most regulated foods in the US, due to the fact that raw milk can contain any number of dangerous pathogenic organisms.

Lower Milk Consumption

Per capita consumption of fluid milk in the US has been falling for decades.

Industry size & Structure

The average dairy product manufacturer has about 122 employees, operates at 1-2 locations and generates $98 million in annual revenue.

    • The industry consists of about 1,200 companies employing 152,100 workers and generating $122 billion in annual revenue.
    • There are about 260 fluid milk processors employing about 54,500 workers.
    • There about 415 cheese manufacturers with 52,900 employees.
    • The 390 ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturers in the US employ about 21,400 workers.
    • The dairy product manufacturing industry is highly concentrated - the top 20 companies account for 51% of industry revenue.
    • Large US dairy product manufacturers include Nestle USA, Dean Foods, Schreiber Foods, Land O'Lakes, and Kraft Heinz Foods.
                                Industry Forecast
                                Dairy Product Manufacturers Industry Growth
                                Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                Recent Developments

                                Mar 15, 2023 - Soy and Nut Drinks Can Be Called Milk
                                • The US Food and Drug Administration in February issued draft guidance on the labeling of plant-based milk alternatives (PBMA), according to the agency. Under the FDA’s draft rule, soy, oat, almond and other drinks that bill themselves as "milk" can keep using the name. However, the FDA recommends that PBMA products that are labeled with the term “milk” in their names, such as “soy milk” or “almond milk,” and that have a nutrient composition that is different than milk, include a voluntary nutrient statement that conveys how the product compares with milk based on USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service fluid milk substitutes nutrient criteria. The new guidelines are aimed at providing consumers clear nutrition information, according to the FDA, which says consumers aren’t confused about the difference between PBMAs and cow’s milk.
                                • A federal bill introduced in February would allow schools participating in the National School Lunch Program to serve whole milk, Food Service Director (FSD) reports. The bill, H.R 1147, would enable both flavored and unflavored whole milk to be served to students. Currently, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, passed in 2010, mandates that the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs allow schools to only serve low fat and fat free white and flavored milk. Also in February, a federal bill that would allow schools to serve flavored milk was revived in Congress. Meanwhile, the US Department of Agriculture has proposed revisions to the milk requirements in school meals, one of which would limit flavored milks to high schools. The authors of H.R. 1147 argue that a wider array of milk options could increase students’ intake.
                                • With farm income projected to ease this year, dairy farmers are expected to experience the largest decline in average net farm income, according to Dairy Reporter. US net farm income is projected at $137 billion in 2023, down 16% from 2022, when it hit its highest level in decades, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. Milk receipts are projected to fall by 14.6% or $18.4 billion, driven mostly by lower prices. Falling milk prices means that dairy farmers will likely see an increase in support through the USDA’s Dairy Margin Coverage Program, a voluntary risk management program for dairy producers. Falling prices and less support from other direct government payments this year means dairies are forecast to experience the largest decline in average net cash from farm income from all farm businesses that specialize in animals or animal products, according to Dairy Reporter.
                                • Proposed changes to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program announced by the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service would boost fruit and vegetable consumption but de-emphasize dairy, according to Agri-Pulse. The proposed revisions would reduce the current WIC allotment by two to six quarts. The maximum monthly allowance (MMA) for children 12 months to 23 months, currently 16 quarts, would be cut to 12 quarts under the proposed rule, and children 2-4 years old would have a two-quart reduction from 16 quarts to 14 quarts. A national poll of more than 530 WIC participants conducted by Morning Consult following the change cuts found that 20% would choose not to re-enroll in the program should the agency follow through with the cuts to milk and dairy benefits. Moreover, three-in-four WIC participants (76%) said they are concerned about the USDA proposal.
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