Dean Foods Co., Dallas, reported that net sales for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2010 totaled $12.1 billion, compared to $11.1 billion for the same period last year.  

Net income attributable to Dean Foods totaled $91 million for the full year 2010, compared with $240 million in the previous year. On an adjusted basis, net income for the full year 2010 totaled $147 million, compared to $277 million in 2009. Dean Foods is the nation’s largest processor on the Dairy 100, Dairy Foods’ annual ranking.

Net sales for both the full year and fourth quarter increased due to strong sales growth at WhiteWave-Alpro and the pass-through of higher overall dairy commodity costs that were partially offset by soft volumes at Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar, the company said.  

"2010 was an exceptionally difficult year for Dean Foods, and our fourth quarter results reflect many of the same trends that have impacted the business all year," said Gregg Engles, chairman and CEO. "At Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar, wholesale pricing for private-label milk remained pressured during the quarter, and volume softened. As a consequence, Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar operating profit was little changed from the third quarter.”

"We have, however, begun to see signs that the fluid milk category is stabilizing, albeit at historically low levels of profitability. Some retailers have taken early steps to reduce heavy private-label promotions and our regional-brand volume mix has begun to stabilize. Regional branded milk volumes outperformed private label on a year-over-year basis in the fourth quarter. Moreover, private label wholesale prices appear to have stopped declining, although we have not yet seen them rise. Volume, however, remains weak, which we believe will limit upward price mobility.”

Total year fluid milk volumes at Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar were essentially flat in 2010, including the benefit of acquisitions. For the full year, WhiteWave-Alpro net sales were $1.9 billion, a 19% increase from 2009.