HP Hood has entered into an agreement to sell St. Paul-based Kemps to Dairy Farmers of America (DFA). Both companies declined to disclose the price or comment further, as the transaction still requires regulatory approval.
The Kemps brand, now known for its slogan “It’s the cows,” was created in 1914 by a small creamery in southeastern Minnesota owned by the Kemps family. In 1961, Kemps and two other Upper Midwest dairy companies merged to create Marigold Foods. Marigold changed its name to Kemps in 2002, but in 2004 it sold out to HP Hood.
Hood, one of the largest dairy players in the Northeast, bought Kemps to try to expand into a new market, the Upper Midwest, said Harold Waxman, publisher of Ice Cream Reporter, a monthly newsletter. “I wouldn’t say Hood is dumping Kemps,” he said. “But it may have not reached its targets in the Upper Midwest.”
While nationally Kemps is a small player, in Minneapolis-St. Paul it’s the leader in the ice cream, frozen yogurt and sherbet and sorbet markets, topping major national brands — not an easy task for any regional food maker.
Kemps employs about 900 people in Minnesota and has two milk processing plants in Duluth and Minneapolis; an ice cream and milk operation in Rochester; and a facility in Farmington that makes yogurt, sour cream and cottage cheese.
Dairy Farmers of America is one of the nation’s largest agricultural cooperatives with annual revenue of $9.8 billion in 2010 and 16,000 farmer members, including 1,400 in Minnesota. It has two plants in Minnesota, one in Zumbrota that makes cheese and another in Winthrop that produces non-fat dry milk and other milk-based food ingredients.
Source: Star Tribune; by: Mike Hughlett