Ridiculously Simple Beginnings.
AE Dairy was founded in 1930, just one year after the stock market crash of 1929. So, yeah, pretty much right smack in the heart of the Great Depression.
Iver Erickson and boyhood friend William Anderson pooled their resources and purchased an existing Des Moines dairy for $15,000. There were over 150 other dairies with operating permits in central Iowa at the time, so competition was fierce. But through ridiculous determination, ridiculous hard work, and probably quite a bit of ridiculous luck, the dairy survived.
In 1938, William Anderson sold his interest to Iver, but the Anderson name and determined spirit remain. Today, the second and third generation of Ericksons are involved in the day-to-day operation of the dairy: Iver’s son, Jim; grandson, Warren; and, of course, his granddaughter, Miriam Erickson Brown. The family’s commitment to AE Dairy’s ridiculously high standards is truly the heart of AE Dairy.
AE Dairy is one of the few remaining independent dairies in the nation. Though small when compared to large cooperatives, the company is ranked by Dairy Foods magazine as one of the top 100 dairies in America based on sales volume. One of the secrets to AE’s success is an ongoing commitment to product quality and freshness. Only the best will do when it comes to ingredients, and we don’t use preservatives. We subscribe to the adage of our founder, Iver Erickson, that there is no such thing as a perfect food. This means continuously working with research and development to incorporate current trends and consumer requests, and making any needed adjustments on existing products. And, true to our family heritage, most of our raw milk comes from family-run farms in Iowa.
AE Dairy is still based in Des Moines but serves Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. If you visit the headquarters, you’ll be greeted by our icons, a 14-foot-tall fiberglass cow named Annie and her calf, Eric, who stands a mere five feet, eight inches.
Ridiculously High Standards.
AE Dairy has ridiculously high standards, and they permeate everything we do and every product we sell. We know you care about the people you serve our products to, and it’s not enough for us to simply have high standards. They need to be ridiculously high. Learn more about our ridiculous quality standards and weekly taste tests.
AE Dairy is proud to be known in the industry as an innovator. We were the first dairy in the country to provide double safety-sealed packaging. We were the first dairy to package frozen yogurt for grocery sale. We were the first dairy to introduce a fat-free, dairy-based yogurt with added soy protein. And last, but certainly not least, we were the first dairy to put photos of missing children on milk cartons. And every day, we continue to monitor trends and customer feedback in hopes of maintaining our lead – innovating new products, new flavors, and other new ideas aimed at the health-minded consumers of today.
- AE owns and operates a fleet of tractor-trailers and straight trucks powered by a soy and diesel fuel blend. (Percentages vary depending on outdoor temperature.)
- Our milk cases are made from reground material. And AE uses recovered water to wash both our milk crates as well as our trucks.
- When AE Dairy cottage cheese is rinsed, that water is recycled and sold to frozen food manufacturers.
- We use a blow mold machine to form our own gallon plastic jugs. Any resulting defective containers that would normally be discarded are collected and sent to a local plastic recycling facility.
- And last, but not least, the plastic used for our milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese containers is recyclable.