Already among the top players in the cottage cheese market, Dean Foods will soon have some more curds in the cup.  

Dean says it has inked a deal with privately held Friendship Dairies, a 90-year-old, upstate New York company that makes cottage cheese and other cultured products for regional distribution.  The nation’s top dairy processor will pay $130 million for the company, which has a production facility in Friendship, N.Y., and an office near Long Island.

“It’s a very strong and powerful brand,” said Dean’s Marguerite Copel. The move comes just weeks after Dean CFO Jack Callahan told analysts that Dean planned to make “one or two” small acquisitions in 2006.

Dean also announced recently that it will begin adding probiotics to its three flagship brands of cottage cheese. Meanwhile, the WhiteWave division says it will launch an organic milk and a yogurt fortified with DHA omega-3.