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In the Vegetarian & Vegan News...
   Jeff Nelson | VegSource Interactive, Inc.

Deans Foods buys White Wave:
Good News or Bad?

May 8, 2002 -- White Wave, makers of delicious Silk and White Wave vegan soymilk, tofu and tempeh products, announced today that they have been purchased by Dean Foods. (full story)

Dean Foods owns the company Suiza, which produces the Sunsoy line of soymilks. Dean Foods describes itself as "the nation’s leading processor and distributor of fresh milk and other dairy products." They also are a leading supplier of pickles and a wide array of specialty food products, including juice drinks, water and coffee.

Will White Wave's being purchased by a company which has major dairy interests impact their product or the way they do business? According to Steve Demos, founder and president of White Wave, the answer is a resounding NO.

"With this new partnership, we will change nothing about our business other than to increase our speed and the passion with which we pursue our goals," Demos said in a release today.


Someone on the lunatic vegan fringe said today that you're now supporting the dairy industry if you buy White Wave vegan products. Putting aside the fact that the person spewing this has a history of saying anything no matter how silly and untrue to promote himself, the fact is when you buy Silk you're supporting a vegan company which produces great vegan products. Now that vegan company is owned by a non-vegan company with enough foresight to realize companies like White Wave represent a growing and important market.

To follow the deceitful logic of the of the lunatic above, one would have to shun the recent and exciting phonenomena of Yves Veggie Dogs in baseball parks, because Yves is owned by Hain, which also owns companies which produce dairy products. And you would have to shun the organic produce at Whole Foods or Wild Oats, because they also sell non-vegan products. Obviously, that's not a recipe for expansion of veganism, but for cult-like isolation and diminishing any growth of veganism.

A worthy goal is to one day be able to walk into any grocery store and see vegan products on every shelf, not simply on some ghetto-ized grocery aisle where they may carry one or two crummy vegan goods, or none at all.

Good for White Wave!

For people who have a blazing hatred of the dairy industry, it's a day for celebration. A big dairy company has caved in. They cried uncle. They spent over $200 million on a soymilk company which is an admission that vegan soymilk is here to stay, that White Wave is onto something good, and Dean Foods wants in on it. With dairy sales declining due to the soymilk market and with the resources now at White Wave's disposal, Dean Foods may one day become a soymilk company with some minor dairy holdings, rather than the other way around.

It's heartening to see the people at White Wave who have worked very hard to maintain a certain level of integrity and quality in their lives and in their products -- be rewarded.

So is there a downside?

Is there a downside to Dean Foods buying White Wave? As long as White Wave keeps their formulations and philosophy intact, no. Now that they're owned by a company which has huge resources like Dean Foods, White Wave is poised to become an even bigger more successful vegan company than they already are.

So all in all, it's a good day for the spread of veganism, and a healthier lifestyle for all.



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