New Zealand-based Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy co-operative, posted its first-ever annual loss this month. The company revealed a $130 million loss in 2017 to 2018—compared to a $500 million profit in 2016 to 2017—and admitted it misled farmers with over-optimistic financial forecasts. Fonterra is a collective that buys dairy milk and products from New Zealand farmers and then sells it to foreign companies, and this is its first profit loss in its 17-year existence. Meanwhile, this year, plant-based milk sales rose by 9 percent to $1.6 billion and the sector now comprises 13 percent of total milk sales in the United States. Substantial sales growth also occurred in other dairy-free alternatives categories, such as cheese (43 percent) and yogurt (55 percent). With decreasing dairy milk sales, dairy companies across the globe are investing in the vegan market: Dean Foods, the second-largest dairy company in the United States, recently became a majority stakeholder in vegan food brand Good Karma; New York-based Elmhurst Dairy shuttered operations and relaunched as plant-based milk brand Elmhurst Milked; and Massachusetts dairy operation Carter & Stevens Farm converted a portion of its operations to a beer brewery.
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