It’s been a year since we last published our annual Dairy 100. To say the 12 months in between have been eventful for the dairy industry would be quite the understatement. From plummeting milk sales and an explosion of competing dairy alternatives to dairy-export roadblocks and pandemic-related stressors, it’s been a challenging time for many dairy processors. On the flip side, the conditions have been just right for growth for some other dairy processors.

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Dairy Foods’ 2020 Dairy 100 rankings, based on 2019 revenues (or the most recent available), reflect the struggles and triumphs of the largest dairy companies in North America.


Major shifts in the top 10

This year’s list shows some major changes from last year’s in the top 10 dairy processor rankings (see the tables). The fall of Dallas-based Dean Foods Co. (No. 3 on the 2019 list), of course, wielded the greatest influence here.

In May 2020, Dean Foods completed the sales of substantially all of its assets, including the sale of the assets, rights, interests and properties relating to 44 of its fluid and frozen facilities, to subsidiaries of based Dairy Farmers of America Inc. (DFA). That reality moved DFA up from No. 8 on the 2019 list to No. 1 on Dairy 100 list. (Even though DFA did not incur the sales we estimated for that portion of Dean Foods’ business, we factor those sales in for the purposes of determining company size.)

Also in May, Dean Foods completed the sale of the assets, rights, interests and properties related to eight facilities, two distribution branches and certain other assets to Prairie Farms Dairy Inc. Based on our estimates, that acquisition moved Prairie Farms from No. 16 on the 2019 list to No. 9 on this year’s list. (This year, Dean Foods also announced that it completed less significant sales of other assets to Producers Dairy Foods, Harmoni Inc. and MGD Acquisition LLC.)

Also worth noting is Nestlé, Zone Americas’ fall from No. 1 in the 2019 rankings to No. 3 in the 2020 list. That shift reflects two factors: the removal of the North American Nestlé Waters sales from our revenue totals, as well as Nestlé USA’s 2020 sale of its ice cream business to U.K. company Froneri International Ltd.


Other notable changes

A few companies that were included in the 2019 rankings won’t be found on this year’s list. Both St. Albans Creamery LLC and Stremicks Heritage Foods are now part of DFA, so their revenues are reflected in DFA’s listing. And Stonyfield Organic’s sales are included as part of the Lactalis Group’s North American operations.

Newbies to the list include Dippin’ Dots Inc. (No. 67), Hershey’s Ice Cream Co. (No. 95), Baker Cheese Inc. (No. 99 and 2020 Dairy Plant of the Year honoree) and Perry’s Ice Cream Company Inc. (No. 100).

How we compiled the list

We began our research by contacting all of the company’s on last year’s Dairy 100 list to request information, including their 2019 (or most recent) revenues and any other updates. We also requested information from companies that almost made last year’s list or underwent a growth spurt in 2019.

For public companies that did not respond to us, we relied on publicly available information regarding revenues. For private companies and cooperatives that did not respond, we estimated revenue — relying, in part, on sources that include but are not limited to reports from Forbes and other publications.


Top 10 in 2020

  1. Dairy Farmers of America Inc.
  2. Saputo Inc.
  3. Nestlé, Zone Americas
  4. Danone North America
  5. Agropur
  6. Schreiber Foods Inc.
  7. Kraft Heinz Co.
  8. ConAgra Brands
  9. Prairie Farms Dairy Inc.
  10. Land O’Lakes Inc. and California Dairies Inc. (tie)

Top 10 in 2019

  1. Nestlé, Zone Americas
  2. Saputo Inc.
  3. Dean Foods Inc.
  4. Danone North America
  5. Kraft Heinz Co.
  6. Agropur
  7. Schreiber Foods Inc.
  8. Dairy Farmers of America Inc.
  9. Grupo LALA
  10. Land O’Lakes Inc.

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