Consumers are guzzling the drinkable cultured dairy options — sales for refrigerated kefir products and shelf-stable yogurt drinks are on the rise. Sales for sour cream are also up. Meanwhile, sales for regular yogurt and cream cheese have dropped. 

Shelf-stable drinkable yogurts see boost

The overall yogurt category saw dollar sales drop 1.6% to $7.5 billion and unit sales were down 6.6% to 4.8 billion, according to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago, for the 52 weeks ended Feb. 19, 2017.

It was a different story for the refrigerated kefir segment, dollar sales climbed 12.3% to $117.8 million and unit sales jumped 11.8% to 36.3 million. (See table). Lifeway Foods dominated the segment with $92.5 million. Dollar sales improved 7.1% and unit sales were up 6.5%. The Greek Gods (The Hain Celestial Group) saw dollar sales drop 0.7%, but unit sales rose 5.5%. Coming up third, private label saw dollar sales jump 225.9% and unit sales climb 89.5%. Dollar and unit sales skyrocketed for Wallaby Yogurt, up 260.3% and 299.6%, respectively. Clover Organic Farms (Clover Stornetta Farms) showed dollar sales down 5% and unit sales dropped 2.7%. Dollar sales for Green Valley Organics increased 25.9% and unit sales jumped 27.6%.

In the smaller shelf-stable yogurt/yogurt drinks segment — dollar sales increased 23.2% to $24.4 million, and unit sales jumped 20.4% to 12.8 million. There is no specific sales data for refrigerated yogurt drinks, according to IRI; this data is included in the overall yogurt category. Earth’s Best (The Hain Celestial Group) led the segment with $9.8 million and dollar sales were up 2.7%. Unit sales improved 5.5% to 6.4 million. Dollar sales increased 7.3% to $2.5 million for Lala (Borden Dairy Co.), and unit sales jumped 25%. Stonyfield Organic struggled with both dollar and unit sales down 48.1% and 48%, respectively.

Other cultured foods try to hold ground

The sour cream category showed dollar sales tick up 2.1% to $1.2 billion and unit sales improved 1.1% to 621.4 million. Among the top 10, segment leader Daisy Brand’s dollar sales increased 11.5% to $614.4 million, and unit sales got a 12.6% boost. Private label came up second with $297.1% — but dollar and unit sales dropped 5.9% and 4.4%, respectively. Breakstone’s (Kraft-Heinz) also struggled, dollar sales were down 9% and unit sales dropped 8.4%. Cacique helped give the segment a boost. Dollar and unit sales rose 15.3% and 25.7%, respectively.

The cottage cheese category’s dollar sales dropped 2% to $1 billion, yet unit sales were up 0.3% to 434.1 million. Breakstone’s dollar sales improved 3.2% and unit sales rose 4.2%. Dollar sales climbed 17% for Daisy and unit sales increased 24%. Prairie Farms’ dollar and unit sales increased 18.5% and 19.8%, respectively. Hiland Dairy also saw increases — dollar and unit sales improved 14.2% and 12.8%, respectively.

In the cream cheese/cream cheese spread category, dollar sales improved 3.9% to $1.6 billion, but unit sales dropped 0.2% to 661.9 million. The category consists of five segments, with most in a standstill or seeing units drop. The cream cheese-brick segment saw dollar sales up 5.2% to $750.1 million, yet unit sales only increased 0.3% to 332.6 million. The cream cheese-soft segment’s dollar sales also were up, 2.7% to $734.1 million, but unit sales fell 1% to 269.9 million.