Kemps and cows cooperate. The company, founded in 1914, produces all kinds of cow-derived products such as fluid, cultured, and frozen dairy items for retail sale in the Upper Midwestern, New England, Mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast states. Kemps boasts half a dozen manufacturing facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. While its namesake Kemps is the company's most widely recognized brand, the firm also sells Cascadian and Mid-America Farms sour cream dip. It produces licensed dairy products under brand names Caribou Coffee, LifeSavers and CremeSavers, Pillsbury, and Twins (as in the Minnesota Twins). Kemps' owner HP Hood sold the company to cooperative Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) in 2011.
HP Hood had acquired Kemps from National Dairy Holdings in 2004 alongside its purchase of regional dairy producer Crowley Foods. Looking to cash in on its multiyear investment in Kemps, Hood purged the maker and marketer of milk, ice cream, and other dairy products. As part of the agreement, DFA took ownership of two milk processing plants, an ice cream and milk facility, and a plant that makes yogurt, sour cream, and cottage cheese. DFA later exchanged its affiliate ownership interest in HP Hood in 2011 for 100% ownership of Kemps, subsequently forming a new Fluid Milk and Ice Cream division. As part of the move, DFA made Kemps a wholly-owned business.
Kemps holds a licensing deal that it hopes will turn into cold hard cash. In 2010 the dairy company partnered with Major League Baseball catcher Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins to help it peddle its products. The three-year agreement with Joe and his mom, Teresa, includes local TV and print ads and promotional programs. – less