PepsiCo closes US yogurt business
In less than three years after beginning its US yogurt business—building the 350,000-sq.-ft. Muller Quaker Dairy manufacturing facility in Batavia, NY—PepsiCo Inc. and German dairy company Theo Muller Group are abandoning their joint venture and ending production at the plant.
The companies ended their partnership because the plant did not meet expectations, according to the Associated Press which reported the plant closure earlier this month. A statement on the Muller Quaker Dairy website says the full line of Muller yogurt has been discontinued, though select products may still be available on shelves for a few weeks.
National milk marketing cooperative Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) has agreed to purchase the upstate New York facility and will evaluate a number of milk handling and manufacturing options for the plant. The Associated Press noted the $208 million plant opened in the spring of 2013 with about $14 million in state tax credits. PepsiCo officials expect 64 of the plant’s 170 jobs to be cut during the transition.
“We are immensely appreciative of the support we’ve received over the years from the community, our customers and the consumers who purchased our products,” PepsiCo said in a statement. “We are also pleased to know that DFA, the nation’s leading milk marketing cooperative, with nearly 1,400 member farms in New York alone, intends to continue to invest in the community and further expand their production and agricultural presence in the state.”
Headquartered in Germany, Muller produces a range of yogurt products that are popular throughout Europe. PepsiCo still maintains a foot in the global dairy industry, acquiring Russia’s largest dairy company Wimm-Bill-Dann in 2011 and operating a joint venture with Saudi Arabia’s Almarai.