You might say it’s a good news/bad news story within the U.S. retail cultured dairy products space. The good news? Some cultured dairy products categories posted strong recent growth. The bad news? Some other categories failed to reverse a multi-year downward slide.
Cream cheese impresses
On the positive side, the cream cheese category saw dollar sales take off 3.8% to reach $1,789.9 million during the 52 weeks ending Jan. 26, 2020, according to data from Chicago-based IRI. Unit sales were flat, however, growing just 0.2% to 673.8 million.
The largest cream cheese subcategory, soft cream cheese, realized a 4.4% dollar sales gain and a 0.4% unit sales increase.
Among the top 10 soft cream cheese brands, plant-based brands Kite Hill and Go Veggie (Galaxy Nutritional Foods Inc.) posted the largest gains, albeit on smallish bases. Kite Hill’s dollar and unit sales jumped 84.9% and 56.3%, respectively. And Go Veggie’s dollar and unit sales climbed 20.6% and 18.2%.
A couple other top 10 brands struggled, however. Plant-based brand Tofutti (Tofutti Brands Inc.) saw dollar sales take a 13.4% dive, while unit sales fell 18.4%. And Crystal Farms, from the company with the same name, saw a 7.9% decrease in dollar sales and a 16.1% decline in unit sales.
Sour cream sales flatten
The sour cream category, meanwhile, lost a slight bit of ground. Dollar sales actually rose 0.3% to $1,252.7 million, but unit sales fell 0.6% to 623.8 million.
The clear winners among the top 10 sour cream brands were Top the Tater (Mid-America Farms) and Hood (HP Hood LLC). Dollar sales and unit sales for Top the Tater both surged 9.7%, while dollar and unit sales for Hood increased 8.7% and 6.6%, respectively.
Taking the biggest tumbles were Breakstone’s (The Kraft Heinz Co.) and Dean’s (Dean Foods). Breakstone’s dollar sales fell 10.1%, while unit sales dropped 10.9%. And Dean’s dollar and unit sales decreased 7.4% and 9.8%, respectively.
Yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese down
Meanwhile, the largest cultured dairy products category, refrigerated yogurt, continued to struggle, although the situation wasn’t as grim as it was in the previous 52-week period. Dollar sales in the category fell 0.7% to $7,149.3 million. Unit sales took a 4.2% nosedive to 4,072.3 million. (IRI doesn’t break down the yogurt data into individual brands.)
The refrigerated kefir category lost more ground, too. Dollar sales fell 0.8% to $92.9 million, while unit sales dropped 4.8% to 27.8 million.
But five kefir brands among the top 10 still managed to post double-digit growth. Of those, the plant-based brand Forager Project by the company of the same name racked up the biggest increases: Its dollar sales rose 178.5%, and its unit sales increased 163.4% (albeit on a small base).
On the flip side, Wallaby Organic (Wallaby Yogurt Co.) recorded the steepest decline, with dollar sales falling 29.5% and unit sales dropping 28.2%.
Meanwhile, dollar sales in the cottage cheese category tumbled 3.8% to $1,033.9 million. Unit sales dropped 4.0% to 422.0 million.
Only two of the top 10 cottage cheese brands posted positive results. Hood posted dollar and unit sales increases of 12.0% and 15.2%, respectively. And the Prairie Farms brand (Prairie Farms Dairy Inc.) saw a 1.1% rise in dollar sales and a 3.3% jump in unit sales.