Fashion iconGucci Corp., shocked its own industry recently by naming an ice-cream executive CEO.

Robert Polet, 48, will take over as chief executive on July 1. Polet, a Unilever Corp. lifer, worked his way up through the ranks at the Anglo-Dutch food and household products group. Most recently, he headed the company's $7.8 billion ice-cream business.

New members of the International Dairy Foods Assn. worth noting include: Dippin' Dots, Paducah, Ky., Stonyfield Farm, Londonderry N.H., and the Tipton Group, Washington.

Lifeway Foods Inc., Morton Grove Ill., reported a 19% increase in first quarter sales for 2004, compared to the same period in 2003. For the quarter, Lifeway's sales climbed to a record $3.93 million compared to $3.30 million in 2003. Gross profit in the quarter increased 24% from the year ago period and operating income rose 50% to $953,852.

Friendly Ice Cream Corp., Wilbraham, Mass., after adjusting several special items, widened its first-quarter net loss and reported 16%-lower operating income on 1.6% revenue. Friendly reported a net loss of $5.1 million, or 68 cents per diluted share, for the quarter ended March 28, compared with a loss of $1.5 million, or 20 cents a share, for the previous first quarter.

Dean Foods, Dallas, posted a 9.5% increase in first-quarter profits but some company sources say it will close 8 to 10 plants this year, in part to offset the rising cost of raw milk. The country's largest dairy company said last month that first-quarter profits were $69.2 million, or 43 cents per share, on sales of $2.45 billion. That was up from a net income of $63.2 million, or 43 cents per share, on sales of $2.14 billion for the same quarter last year. The latest quarter included costs of $7.6 million to shut down the Morningstar dairy in Madison and two other U.S. plants.

Brewster Dairy, Brewster, Ohio, has sold its Amish Classics brand to MDS Foods, a new Ohio-based company founded by Brewster's former v.p. of sales and marketing, Jim Straughn.

Mac Farms Inc., Milford N.Y., makers of the carbonated milk beverages e-Moo and RPM has signed a licensing agreement with the Namibia Dairy Div. of Olthaver & List Ltd. to distribute the Mac Farms products in African countries of Namibia, South Africa, and Botswana.