Dairy company will now go by 'Crystal'; poultry not affected

Foster Farms Dairy products, made in Modesto for 67 years, are getting a new name.

The company announced Tuesday that the brand will change to Crystal as of Monday.

The new name comes from Crystal Cream and Butter Co., a Sacramento producer that Foster Farms bought last year.

The Foster Farms name is well-known in and near Stanislaus County but not in other parts of Northern California, said Dennis Roberts, vice president of sales and marketing for the company.

Crystal, on the other hand, has "tremendous name recognition" in Sacramento and the Bay Area, he said.

The new name will go on fluid milk, butter, ice cream and other products that Foster Farms processes and makes at its plants on Kansas Avenue in Modesto and in Fresno.

"It's made at the same place by the same people, but just a different label," said Carrie Cardoza Bordona, whose Modesto public relations firm is working on the change-over.

It does not affect the Foster Farms poultry company, based in Livingston and owned by the same family.

Roberts said marketing research found that many consumers associate the Foster Farms name with poultry more than dairy products.

He said the company will be better off selling just one dairy brand in its market area, stretching from the Oregon border to Bakersfield and over to the coast.

The new labels have "Crystal" in big letters, with "Foster Farms Dairy Quality" next to it in small type. The company incorporated part of Foster Farms' sunburst logo.

Murray Brand Communications of San Francisco designed the label. It will be introduced to the public via newspaper, billboard and other advertising, some of it in Spanish.

The purchase of Crystal, founded in 1901, boosted Foster Farms' milk production from about 2.5 million gallons a week to 3 million. It added hundreds of retail outlets.

Foster Farms Dairy will continue to be the corporate name for the company. It is the largest privately owned dairy producer in the state and employs more than 950 people.

"We are still family-owned," Roberts said. "The family is still very involved."

The Foster Farms Dairy brand dates to 1941, when Max and Verda Foster started producing milk and delivering it in bottles to Modesto homes.

That was two years after they started the poultry company, now the largest in the West.