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Horizon organic dairy brand turns 20

The Horizon organic dairy brand is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2011.

“Over the past 20 years, Horizon has grown its network of family farmers from seven to more than 600, and helped create and grow the organic dairy category,” said Mike Ferry, Horizon president.

The Horizon story began in Boulder CO in 1991, when two veterans of the natural foods industry, Mark Retzloff and Paul Repetto, saw a potential market for organic dairy products and decided to take a chance on the venture. Although the company first launched with six flavors of organic yogurt, it quickly became clear that the real opportunity was with organic milk.

Before Horizon, there were very few organic milk options for consumers. Horizon aimed to change this, and started by procuring milk from a co-op of seven farmers in Wisconsin. Over the next 20 years, Horizon experienced a number of milestones, including:

•1993—Half-gallons of Horizon organic milk are launched.

•1994—Horizon becomes the first national organic dairy brand.

•1995—The brand expands the organic dairy category with the introduction of the first organic sour cream, half-and-half, and butter products.

•2004—Horizon acquired by Dean Foods (NYSE: DF) and becomes part of its WhiteWave Foods division.

•2007—The brand launches the first organic milk with plant-based Omega-3 DHA.

•2011—Horizon introduces the first fat-free organic milk with plant-based Omega-3 DHA, as well as 1% milk boxes with reduced fat, calories, and sugar.

Today, there are more than 50 USDA-certified organic dairy products carrying the Horizon logo. All Horizon organic products are produced in strict adherence with the USDA organic regulations, without the use of added growth hormones, pesticides and antibiotics, and also continue to be made without genetically modified organisms, artificial colors or flavors.

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