“There's no need to keep all the milk plants running. MILK SALES ARE DECLINING.”
Blaming the Dean Foods downfall on overall declining milk consumption is a lie that CEO after CEO used to try and placate shareholders whenever earnings weren’t what was predicted and that lie has now been picked up by the press. Yes, overall consumption is down and had an impact, but the number of plants that Dean Foods shut down over the last 5 years more than offset the decline in consumption. Our main problems were years of dumb decisions that led to massive debt, a lack of diversification of products, decisions that were made that led to customers either opening their own dairy plants or taking their business to our competitors, and repeatedly failing to take into account the true increases in distribution costs whenever a plant was closed.
Fluid milk plants may be a risky investment, but low margins are a bigger factor in that risk than declining consumption.