A look at the top 20

The Rabobank Dairy Top 20 makes for interesting summer reading. The mergers and acquisitions of the last year, along with the jostling for the top slot, is always a source of knowledge and information. In 2021, Lactalis continued to hold its top slot over the previous long-term leader Nestlé. Meanwhile the combined turnover of the top 20 grew by 9.3%, well above the previous year’s decline of 0.1%, showing a recovery from the pandemic.  

As for turnover and acquisition, privately-held Lactalis, along with Yili Group, were ahead, according to the Rabobank report. Lactalis sales for 2021 are estimated at €22.6 billion, with double-digit sales growth (11.9%) driven by the purchase of Kraft Heinz’s US natural cheese business (thus eliminating that company from the Top 20) and group[e Bel’s Royal Bel Leerdammer, Bel Italia, Bel Deutschland and Bel Shostka Ukraine, which added a combined estimated annual turnover of around US$2.1 billion. Lactalis has continued its buying trend in 2022, with Jalna Dairy Foods (Australia) and Bayerische Milchindustrie’s (BMI) Fresh Dairy Division of Germany coming under the Lactalis umbrella. 

Meanwhile, China’s Yili Group saw the largest gain in turnover among the group. This was a result in the purchase of IMF-producer Ausnutria, with domestic sales jumping by 31.7% to US$18.2bn from $4.4bn. Amul of India has also seen its revenue up by 18.8%, or US$1 bn, to improve its ranking from 18 up to 13 in the top 20. Mengniu for its part has passed FrieslandCampina and Arla Foods to reach seventh, with its turnover increasing by 24% to US$13.7bn. 

Froneri has also joined the club at number 20. The private-equity ice cream firm was formed as a joint venture between Nestlé and equity partners PAI in 2016, and the company is now the second-largest global ice cream manufacturer after Nestlé, having made several acquisitions in various markets globally, including some Nestlé operations.  

On the down side, DMK fell by six positions, and Kraft Heinz is now off the list entirely. Overall, the overall business of global dairy continues to make the Dairy Top 20 a relevant read for us all.   

For further information, visit https://research.rabobank.com/far/en/sectors/dairy/dairy_top_20_2022.html 

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