Broward Community College is located in Davie, Fla., a suburban town that rubs elbows with Ft. Lauderdale. Only alums would find it any more remarkable than any other such institution.

Broward Community College is located in Davie, Fla., a suburban town that rubs elbows with Ft. Lauderdale. Only alums would find it any more remarkable than any other such institution. I spent two years at BCC right from high school. Served on the newspaper staff, got my 101s out of the way, and when there was time, I sat in the small quad socializing with classmates and enjoying the heat and humidity.

Near the quad, a cart vendor sold fresh fruit, salty snacks, and Dannon Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt. In 1979 yogurt was still considered kind of a new thing and I believe Dannon’s still came in a paper cup. Banana was my favorite flavor. Yogurt’s come a long way since, and so has The Dannon Company.

Dannon would have been a great cover story at anytime during the last 25 years or so and yet right now is the perfect time forDairy Foodsto honor the company as the magazine’s Processor of the Year.

This year Dannon rolled out Activia, a yogurt that promotes digestive regularity. Activia has been so well received, it’s on its way to becoming the company’s most successful product introduction ever…at least for the time being.

Our editorial advisory board selected Dannon over five other excellent candidates. Just before the selection process started, Dannon announced that it had begun a major expansion of its West Jordan Utah plant. The reason for the expansion? Dannon and its parent company, Groupe Danone, are convinced that the U.S. yogurt market offers room for more growth. A lot more.

At first that sounds shocking. U.S. yogurt sales are already on the fast track, particularly compared to other food products. But then Dannon notes that America’s per-capita yearly consumption of yogurt is now at around 7.5 pounds, which is still a fraction of what’s consumed in many other countries. The U.S. market is on impulse drive to borrow a bit of Star Trek terminology. Dannon is sure that it has the dilithium crystals (in the form of high health products proven in other world markets) to get consumption to say, warp six within the next five years. More capacity will be needed.

The Dannon Company has a rich history of innovation reaching way back to 1942. Through the twists and trends of the infancy and childhood of the U.S. yogurt market, the company has stayed the course of providing natural, healthful products. Like its parent company, Dannon is a good corporate citizen, and it remains an industry leader, albeit one that now battles for market share with one major competitor.

Times have changed, but some things have not. When today’s freshman students enter college each fall, the vast majority have grown up with yogurt in the fridge. It may be less surprising to today’s young scholars, but they can still find tasty healthful innovations from Dannon being sold by the cart vendor near the quad.

Past Recipients

2005: Tillamook

2004: HP Hood

2003: Stonyfield Farm

2002: Marigold Foods

2001: HP Hood

2000: Leprino Foods

1999: Suiza Foods

1998: Dean Foods

1997: Mid-American Dairymen

1996: Agropur Cooperative

1995: Good Humor-Breyers

1994: Darigold

1993: Anderson Erickson

1992: Ault Foods

1991: Dean Foods

1990: Wells’ Dairy

1989: Wessanen USA (tie)
Land O’ Lakes (tie)

1988: Mid-American Dairymen

1987: Borden

1986: Southland Dairies Group

1985: Mayfield Dairy Farms

1984: Land O’ Lakes

1983: Kroger Co.

Processor of the Year Criteria

Dairies are nominated by suppliers, staff and our editorial advisory board. Criteria are:
  • Financial and management success
  • Market leadership (including new product development, marketing and innovations that spur the industry)
  • Industry service
  • Commitment to quality