Dean Foods has announced plans to close its Springfield, Virginia dairy plant within the next two months - a move which will see the end of its Shenandoah’s Pride brand and eliminate 110 jobs.
Shenandoah’s Pride Dairy, which was established in 1922 as the Valley of Virginia Co-operative Milk Producers, produces a range of dairy products including fluid milk, yogurt, cheese, and sour cream.
Closure of the plant is part of a larger cost-reduction drive by Dean Foods to lower fixed costs and shrink distribution routes.
Production will be moved to plants in Richmond, Virginia and Landsdale, Pennsylvania, and throughout the rest of this year, the Shenandoah’s Pride brand will be phased out and replaced with two other Dean Foods lines - Lehigh Valley Dairy Farms and PET.
According to Dean Foods, its “retail customers are aware of this transition, and consumers can continue to expect the same quality milk they enjoy today, now offered under the Lehigh Valley brand”.
Despite plans to sell the site of the Springfield plant, the company intends to retain 40 distribution and sales positions in the area.
“We regret the impact that this decision will have on our employees and our community. The decision to eliminate jobs in any part of our business is never an easy one,” said Dean Foods spokesperson, Jamaison Schuler, in a statement sent to DairyReporter.com.
The decision was made to increase efficiency, Schuler explained.
“We need to improve our supply chain capability, and operating fewer plants will help us streamline our operations. The decision to discontinue production at this location does not reflect the quality of work performed by our employees, but the competitive nature of the marketplace.”
Since 2010, Dallas-based Dean Foods has shut plants in Georgia, Maine, Michigan, and South Carolina.
Last year, Dean also reduced expenditure by cutting 120 corporate jobs in its Fresh Dairy Direct division.
Cuts were intimated in Dean’s annual report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
“We expect to accelerate our ongoing cost reduction efforts in 2013 to minimize the impact of [past] lost volumes,” said the April 2013 report.