After 110 years of business, Berkeley Farms will close their doors. The facility, located in Hayward will shutdown at the end of April.
In a statement released by Dean Foods, Dairy Farmers of America was the winning bidder for all of Berkeley Farms assets, interests, rights and properties relating to 44 of the Company’s fluid and frozen facilities for $433 million.
Dean Foods purchased Berkeley Farms in 1998. But, before the sale, Berkeley Farms was considered the largest independent dairy products company in Northern California.
According to KTVU, Ann Divjack, the vice president sent an email today explaining, “This was an extremely tough decision for the Dean Foods family. Our intention was to sell the Berkeley Farms facility as an ongoing business, meaning operations would have continued; unfortunately, the lack of interested buyers has made the decision necessary.”
Although the timing points to COVID-19, the coronavirus crisis did not destroy Berkeley Farms. In a report from Mercury News, Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2019 explaining, “the bankruptcy filing comes as Americans are drinking less milk from cows, and have expanded their tastes for milk-alternatives like soy and almond milk, and other diary substitutes. According to the Dairy Farmers of America, dairy product sales dropped to $13.6 billion in 2018, from $14.7 billion in 2017.”
With several hundred individuals in the East Bay out of work and Dean Foods selling their rights, all there is left to do is search for someone to buy the Hayward real estate in which they had many successful years of business.