- The total value of dairy sales worldwide has fallen, according to the report. "The big story in this year's top 20 list of dairy companies—based on turnover—is the shrinkage of the overall size of the pie," said Kevin Bellamy, global dairy strategist for Rabobank.
- Nestle tops Rabobank's annual ranking of the 20 largest dairy processors in the world for 2016. France's Lactalis and Danone round out the top three.
- Dairy Farmers of America (No. 4), Dean Foods (No. 10), Kraft Heinz (No. 13) and Schreiber Foods (No. 18) represented the U.S. on Rabobank's list.
Dairy producers in the top 20 combined for $194 billion in sales in 2015, down 13% year over year. Currency movements have been blamed in large part for the significant decrease.
But another key factor is at play here—the impact of plant-based dairy alternatives. Danone recently threw it's weight behind the plant-based dairy movement when it announced its acquisition of WhiteWave earlier this month. It wouldn't be surprising for more similar deals by conventional dairy companies in the coming years.
Also notable is slower growth in China, which has caused these major dairy producers to look for growth opportunities elsewhere. Africa seems to be the latest target, according to Rabobank, with 14 deals in the region year to date compared to three in all of 2014.