Monday, 20 March 2000

Dean Foods’ Strategies Result in Expanded Product Offerings, New Product Innovations and Niche Category Entries

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Monday, 20 March 2000

FRANKLIN PARK, Ill., March 20 /PRNewswire/ — As a result of its strategic
focus on product and package development innovation, Dean Foods Company
(NYSE: DF) today announced major initiatives to expand its Milk Chugs product
distribution, launch the first-ever single-serve refrigerated dip and create a
platform for future niche market programs. As the leading innovator in its
core categories, these initiatives reflect the Company’s on-going commitment
to respond to consumer demand for more portable, functional and nutritionally
sound products.

New technology developed at Dean’s Rockford, Illinois R&D Center, will
enable the Company to substantially expand the distribution of its Milk Chug
line nationally through the development of a new industry process that
provides for longer product shelf life without sacrificing taste. Dean’s new
Intermediate Shelf Life (ISL) processing technology extends the 14 to 21-day
shelf life of a traditional dairy product to a 30 to 40-day shelf life while
maintaining fresh milk flavor. Longer shelf life will allow fluid milk
products to be distributed into new markets and distribution channels,
including national retail accounts. The new Milk Chugs ISL product will be
introduced in new geographic markets over the next few months, providing
national coverage for the brand. The Company is also investing in
industry-standard Extended Shelf Life (ESL) processing technology, which
lengthens shelf life to 90 to 120 days.

“Dean’s is driving the innovation in our industry through our R&D
capability, product innovation and marketing prowess,” said Dean’s Chairman
Howard Dean. “Consumer demand for Milk Chugs is a national phenomenon, which
we will now be able to respond to with our new ISL technology.”

Since its 1997 introduction, Dean’s portable and resealable Milk Chugs
revolutionized the dairy industry by bringing strong consumer-orientation and
marketing muscle to a category that had long experienced waning sales. Milk
Chugs has brought overall category growth to markets where it is available,
contrasting stagnant sales in markets where the product is not. Growth
continues, with 1999 sales showing a 56 percent increase, from $64.1 million
in 1998 to over $100 million last year. In anticipation of future national
expansion of Milk Chugs, the Company recently introduced a new bottle graphic
that creates a national brand equity.

Dean’s extensive consumer research has also yielded product innovations in
its Specialty Foods Business Unit, which this spring launches
Dips-For-One(TM), the first individually packaged, single-serve refrigerated
dip. The new extension of the Dean’s and Marie’s refrigerated dips creates a
completely new category segment with a high quality product that provides
consumers with desired convenience, portability and portion control. The
national new product launch, which follows overwhelmingly positive results in
recent test markets, will be supported by national print and radio
advertising, TV ads in select markets, in-package and in-store coupons and a
national consumer contest this summer.

“Dean’s multi-faceted growth strategy is rooted in a keen understanding of
consumer needs,” said Dean’s President & COO Dick Bailey. “The Company is
committed to meeting those needs either internally or through strategic
mergers and acquisitions.”

Dean’s is also uniquely positioned to expand its presence in nutritional
and functional niche markets. The Company’s 1999 acquisition of Alta Dena
Certified Dairy Inc., Alta Dena, Calif., provides Dean’s entry into the
popular organic and natural products categories as well as refrigerated
yogurts and yogurt drink products. Its relationship with Boulder, Colo.-based
White Wave Inc., of which Dean purchased a minority stake in August of 1999,
provides the company with access to the rapidly growing soy business. White
Wave’s Organic Silk Soymilk line has seen 100 percent growth annually over the
past three years.

Dean Foods is one of the nation’s leading dairy processors and
distributors producing a full line of branded and private label products,
including fluid milk, ice cream and extended shelf life products, which are
sold under the Dean’s and other strong regional brand names. Dean Foods is
the industry leader in other food products including pickles, powdered
non-dairy coffee creamers, aseptically packaged foodservice products, and
refrigerated dips and salad dressings.

Certain statements in this press release are forward looking as defined by
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements
involve certain risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to
differ materially from expectations as of the date of this press release.
These risks include, but are not limited to, the ability to integrate
acquisitions, adverse weather conditions resulting in poor harvest conditions,
raw milk and resin costs, interest rate fluctuations, competitive pricing
pressures, the effectiveness of marketing and cost-management programs and
shifts in market demand.

SOURCE Dean Foods Company

Company News On-Call: http://www.prnewswire.com/comp/109161.htmlor fax, 800-758-5804, ext. 109161

CONTACT: LuAnn Lilja of Dean Foods Company, 847-233-5459; orVictoria Ricks of Dome Communications, 312-467-0760, for DeanFoods

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