Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers ate at home more often during the past year — and many of them baked and cooked up a storm, too. That reality translated into rosy sales at retail for a number of cultured dairy categories.


Sales of cooking, baking staples soar

Among the cultured dairy set, two categories associated with cooking and baking— cream cheese and sour cream — posted impressive growth.

Dollar sales in the cream cheese/cream cheese spread category jumped 20.9% to $2,204.7million, according to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 21, 2021. Unit sales increased 15.6% to 793.3 million.

In the largest cream cheese subcategory, soft cream cheese, Tillamook was the growth standout among the top 10 brands (with a newish product line entry). The brand’s dollar sales skyrocketed 2,106.0%; unit sales were up 2,145.4%.

Eight of the top 10 brands realized double-digit or greater dollar and unit sales growth. Only one brand among the top 10, Kraft, saw sales declines (down 2.4% in dollar sales and 2.2% in unit sales).

As for sour cream, the category’s dollar sales shot up 15.5% to $1,444.5 million. Unit sales rose 12.6% to 705.8 million.

Posting the most impressive growth among the top 10 brands was Cacique, which saw dollar and unit sales jumps of 22.5% and 20.8%, respectively. Daisy Brand was close behind, with dollar and unit sales increases of 20.7% and 18.4%.

On the flip side, the combined Dean Foods brands performed the worst among the top 10. Dollar sales fell 45.3%, while unit sales tumbled 43.5%.


Kefir, cottage cheese also impress

The past year brought good news to the kefir and cottage cheese categories as well.

Dollar sales for the kefir segment increased 9.6% to $101.0 million. Unit sales improved 7.8% to 29.8 million.

The big winner among the top 10 kefir brands was private label. Retailers’ own brands saw a dollar sales jump of 36.7% and a unit sales increase of 12.8%.

Four top 10 brands — Fresh Made, Wallaby Organic, The Greek Gods and Clover Sonoma — saw double-digit sales decreases, however.

As for cottage cheese, the category realized a 6.1% dollar sales gain to reach $1,114.2 million. Unit sales climbed 2.2% to 439.8 million.

Three brands among the top 10 — Good Culture, Daisy Brand and Prairie Farms — posted dollar sales gains of 20% or greater. Good Culture realized dollar and unit sales gains of 47.0% and 27.6%, respectively. Daisy Brand’s dollar and unit sales rose 20.3% and 12.6%. And Prairie Farms saw dollar and unit sales increases of 20.0% and 5.6%.

Losing the most ground among the top 10 brands was Breakstone’s Cottage Doubles. Its dollar and unit sales tumbled 12.2% and 12.3%, respectively.


Mixed results for yogurt

It was a good news/bad news scenario for the massive yogurt category, meanwhile. Dollar sales rose 4.1% to $7,639.8 million. But unit sales took a 3.5% dive to 4,025.8 million. (IRI does not share individual brand data for the yogurt category.)