New Innovation Chief at Dean Foods

The nation’s largest dairy company has hired 20-year veteran of Kraft Foods to lead research and development for both the Dean Dairy Group and the WhiteWave Foods and Morningstar divisions.

Kelly Duffin-Maxwell joined Dean Foods last month and will report jointly to Dean Chairman/CEO Gregg Engles and Joe Scalzo, pres./CEO of WhiteWave Foods and Morningstar.

“We are placing an increased emphasis on brand-building and innovation and have strengthened our product development and marketing capabilities,” said Engles. “Kelly’s knowledge in converging science and business to the advantage of customers and consumers make her an important addition to Dean Foods.”

Duffin-Maxwell’s most recent position at Kraft was senior v.p., breakthrough innovation. She was charged with building an open innovation organization that leverages external partnerships and develops future product pipeline growth for the company.

She has worked throughout the Kraft organization including in the Cheese, Convenient Meals and Grocery categories, as well as serving as dir., basic flavor and ingredient research for North America.

Mayfield Buys Another Slice in Atlanta

Mayfield Dairy has broadened its share in the Atlanta market, as Southeast Milk Inc. announced last month that it is closing its Atlanta dairy operation and selling some of its assets to Mayfield.

Calvin Covington, Southeast Milk CEO, said the cooperative has invested several million dollars to keep its Atlanta plant open, but continued significant losses are forcing the closure.

Southeast is working with Mayfield, Athens, Tenn., on transferring some operations to Mayfield so customers can continue to be supplied. Mayfield will take over Southeast Milk distribution routes and hire some Atlanta Dairy employees. Mayfield also will acquire some Southeast assets, including Atlanta Dairy trademarks. The Dean Foods company has been in the Atlanta market since 1980.

Southeast’s dairy cooperative purchases milk from 300 dairy farms in the Southeast. It markets 3 billion pounds of milk annually, equivalent to 150 daily tanker loads.

“Closing the plant was not an easy decision for our dairy farmer owners of this plant to make. Since Southeast Milk became the majority owner and manager of Atlanta Dairy, the cooperative has invested several million dollars to keep the plant in operation,” Covington said in a statement.

Stremicks Heritage Teams with Disney

Stremicks Heritage Foods and Disney Consumer Products have partnered to produce a new milk beverage line.  Available in U.S. grocery stores now, Disney Little Einsteins Milk is made without the use of rBST and enriched with 32mg of omega-3 DHA per serving to support brain and eye development and the heart’s health through every stage of life, according to the company.

It is the first Disney-branded refrigerated dairy beverage to launch since Disney announced its food guidelines in 2006.

“The Disney brand and characters are in a unique position to market beverages that kids want and parents feel good about,” said Lance Gatewood, vice president of food, health & beauty for Disney Consumer Products North America.

Disney’s food guidelines stipulate that kid-focused products limit calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar, Gatewood said. 

“Teaming with Disney provides the opportunity to create healthy products that kids will identify with, while enabling parents to provide a highly nutritional and great-tasting beverage that their children will want to drink,” said Sam Stremick, dir. of sales and marketing for Stremicks Heritage Foods, Santa Ana, Calif.