Cumberland Dairy, the South Jersey company that makes McDonald’s milkshake mix, Rita’s frozen custard, Shake Shack shakes, Kohr Bros. frozen custard and some of Wawa’s and Rosenberger’s milk and dairy products, has been acquired by Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national milk cooperative based in Kansas City, Kansas.
Cumberland Dairy, founded in 1933, employs around 180 at its facilities making ultrapasteurized milk and other dairy products in Bridgeton, NJ Third-generation owners include Carmine Catalana IV, Frank Catalana and David Catalana. Two of Carmine’s children, Rachel Bur and Nicholas Catalana, are also part of the group.
DFA has in recent years expanded along the East Coast. The 8,000-dairy farm cooperative has also acquired the Oakhurst Dairy in Maine, Guida’s in Connecticut, and Dairy Maid in Maryland. “We now work for 8,000 dairy farms,” Carmine Catalana told me.
DFA wants to expand into the restaurant and institutional business where Cumberland Dairy has prospered, said Rick Smith, DFA president and CEO.
The deal was structured to keep family members and managers in place, so “we can continue to focus on our values as a company, while accelerating our opportunities for growth,” Carmine Catalana added in a statement. “This is a very exciting time for the entire Cumberland Dairy family, and we look forward to this next chapter with DFA.”
The Catalanas also own and operate juice and beverage manufacturer Innovation Foods, LLC, founded in 2008. Innovation Foods, run by Carmine’s daughter Rachel Bur, produces GoodBelly Probiotics for Boulder, Colorado-based NextFoods. These are probiotic juices and beverages, developed in partnership with Silk soy milk founder Steve Demos after he sold Silk to what is now an arm of Danon, the French dairy giant.
Innovation Foods was not part of the Cumberland Dairy DFA transaction, Carmine told me: “We think there’s opportunity to grow.”