Oakland, Calif.-based Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Holdings Inc. has completed a $100 million expansion of its Bakersfield (Calif.) Operations Center, largest of the processor’s seven ice cream manufacturing facilities. More than 100 varieties of Dreyer’s and Nestlé ice cream products and frozen snacks will be made at the plant, including the new Dreyer’s Slow Churned™ Light ice cream. Dreyer’s hired an additional 230 employees — mostly ice cream makers, warehouse workers and maintenance personnel — to help staff the new 650,000-square-foot facility, for a total of 730 employees, with plans to add another 100 over the next two years. In addition to six new manufacturing lines, Dreyer’s built a 120,000-square-foot warehouse and 20-door distribution center. Dreyer’s expects the Bakersfield plant to produce nearly 70 million gallons of ice cream and 100 million dozen frozen snacks annually. The plant is also the new home of Dreyer’s state-of-the-art technical center, where 43 food scientists create new products, flavors and innovations.
Canada-based cheese processor Saputo Inc. has acquired Wisconsin-based Schneider Cheese Inc. for $23.9 million. Schneider manufactures and sells string cheeses and cheese sticks under its own brand name and private labels. The transaction was expected to close at the end of May. Schneider employs about 160 people and has annual revenues of about $40 million. Saputo employs about 7,900 people at 46 plants and distribution centers worldwide; its U.S. division is based in Lincolnshire, Ill. Saputo markets cheese under its own name and various brands including Armstrong, Caron, Dairyland, Stella, Frigo, Dragone and Treasure Cave.
Grassland Dairy Products Inc., Greenwood, Wis., has acquired West Point Dairy Products Inc., which operates five churns in two locations: West Point, Neb., and Hyrum, Utah. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Alto Dairy Cooperative, Black Creek, Wis., has partnered with Green Bay, Wis.-based Winona Foods to release Black Creek Classic Cheddar, a new line of premium aged cheddars. Company officials say the move marks the first time Alto Dairy has entered the value-added specialty cheese market.
In May, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) recalled fluid whole milk and soft cheese curds that may have been contaminated with illness-causing pathogens from Twin Oaks Dairy, Chehalis, Wash. The recall involved a small amount of a 37-gallon batch of milk processed by Twin Oaks, WSDA reports.
France’s Group Danone will enter India’s specialty dairy market through a joint venture with Japan’s Yakult Honsha. The newly-created company, Yakult Danone India Private Ltd., will begin marketing Yakult-brand products at the end of 2005.
South Burlington, Vt.-based Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. continues its 27-year commitment to supporting positive social and environmental change by introducing three coffee ice cream flavors now made with Fair Trade Certified™ coffee extract. The company says Fair Trade Certified is making a positive difference in the global community by ensuring that small-scale farmers are paid a fair price for their harvests. The presence of the Fairy Trade Certified logo on Ben & Jerry’s coffee ice cream pints mean that TransFair USA — the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States — monitored every step involved in sourcing the coffee.
Worried about the growing ability of private label competitors to mimic its products, Kraft Foods Inc. plans to double its current stable of a dozen patent lawyers in a bid to protect its innovations, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Milk containing omega 3 fatty acids derived from oily fish has been put on the market in England. Produced by cows which are given a special fish-oil blend along with their normal feed, the “Super Milk” contains 10 times more per serving of the omega 3 acids known as DHA and EPA than regular milk.
Dairy executives descended on Washington, D.C., this month for the IDFA 2005 Washington Conference to hear the latest news on dairy-related legislation and politics, and network with members of Congress about federal policies that affect their businesses. Lawmakers also were invited to take part in the 23rd annual Capital Hill Ice Cream Party.