US dairy giant Dean Foods plans to boost the number of soy food products it sells in the US in the wake of its acquisition of Belgium’s Alpro, the company said today (15 June).

Dean Foods, the owner of the Silk soy milk brand, will lean on Alpro’s “terrific” portfolio of non-beverage soy products was it looks to expand domestically, Joe Scalzo, president and CEO of Dean Foods’ WhiteWave-Morningstar division, said.

“The development of [Alpro’s] non-beverage business is driven by terrific products,” Scalzo said. “It has not been a focus for Silk [but] we will absolutely take that into account and we will look at the North American market with that in mind.”

Dean Foods, the largest dairy processor in the US, won the race for Alpro after it agreed to pay EUR325m (US$449.9m) to Belgian food group Vandemoortele, the owner of the business.

Several food multinationals, including Unilever and Nestle, were rumoured to be keen on Alpro, which was also said to have attracted private equity interest.

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Gregg Engles, president and CEO of Dean Foods, hailed the US group’s success in acquiring Alpro, arguing that the deal would give the company a strong presence in a sector with great potential.

“This is a winning acquisition for Dean Foods,” he told analysts. “This was the most strategic asset we could have acquired in the world. It has created the only global player in soya.”

Alpro generated net sales of EUR260m in 2008 and has enjoyed a compound annual growth rate of 14% since 2000. The division’s core markets are the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. 

Scalzo said Alpro’s current management would stay with the business and look to grow sales in central and Eastern Europe in the years to come.

“This is a very, very capable management team. They’ve been working with this business since 2001. We’re really confident in their ability to continue to drive this brand and this business.”

Scalzo added: “The principle opportunity here is revenue synergies. The driver here is the ability to accelerate the top-line of the business.”