DALLAS — Dean Foods Co. is seeking a buyer of its Morningstar Foods business unit. The company said it has not identified a candidate, and it will only sell Morningstar Foods in a transaction that maximizes shareholder value.

Morningstar Foods is a warehouse delivery dairy business that produces and sells traditional and specialty items, including cultured dairy products, ice cream mixes, coffee creamers, aerosol whipped toppings, traditional and value-added milks, and blended iced beverages to retailers and food service operators nationwide. In 2011, the business unit had sales of $1.3 billion.

In early August, Dean Foods announced plans to initiate an initial public offering for 20% of the company’s WhiteWave-Alpro business unit, which will change its name to The WhiteWave Foods Co. once the i.p.o. is completed. The money raised by the i.p.o. will be used to pay down some of Dean Foods’ debt, according to the company. The WhiteWave-Alpro business manufactures and distributes plant-based foods and beverages, coffee creamers and beverages as well as other dairy products throughout North America and Europe.