- Elmhurst Dairy, which shut down last fall amid lagging milk sales, transformed itself into Elmhurst Milked, a new non-dairy operation, according to Bevnet.
- The rebooted company unveiled its “milked nuts” line at Natural Products Expo West. The four varieties of nut milks are almonds, cashews, hazelnuts and walnuts.
- Elmhurst Milked’s entire line is vegan, lactose-free, kosher, and non-GMO certified.
Elmhurst Dairy was once one of the biggest dairy operations on the East Coast. It ran for 92 years before closing its doors last fall because it was no longer profitable. Rather than get out of the milk business for good, the family-owned-and-operated company is using its milk expertise to succeed in the non-dairy segment.
Things have not been good for those sticking it out in the milk industry. Consumer demand for dairy is dropping. This drove dairy farmers to dump millions of pounds of milk last year, causing prices to drop across the board. Things got so bad, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offered dairy producers approximately $11.2 million in financial assistance to help deal with the industry’s current challenges.
Many in the milk industry have fought back at non-dairy producers with lawsuits saying the claims they make about being healthier or equal to dairy milk are false. There is even pending legislation in Congress that would require anything called "milk" to be dairy-based.
This hasn’t seemed to have much effect on non-dairy milk sales, which continue to be strong. A study by Mintel last year showed U.S. non-dairy milk sales increased 9% in 2015, while dairy milk sales declined 7% over the same period. A quick peek into the refrigerator case at a grocery store and consumers can see this trend is happening in front of their eyes, as retailers are increasingly stocking more plant-based milks with fewer artificial ingredients.