Much has been said and written about the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence on consumers’ diets. The consensus is that many consumers have been seeking out functional and other health-positioned foods and beverages to boost their immunity and overall health.
For the second year in a row, Dairy Foods has good news to share about the retail juice category, a segment that had been experiencing a multi-year decline. According to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI, two of the four juice categories actually posted impressive dollar and unit sales increases during the 52 weeks ending March 21, 2021.
The small town of Arkansas City, Kan., also known as Ark City, is home to the Cowley County Waterfall, which Yahoo Travel included in its 2014 "Top 12 Most Beautiful Waterfalls in America" list. It is also home to a decidedly less touristy, but arguably equally fascinating, "attraction": a KanPak US dairy processing facility that employs aseptic technologies to create custom shelf-stable liquid-based products for quick-service restaurants, retail and other customers.
With no brands of its own gracing retail shelves or foodservice counters, KanPak US might not be a household name among U.S. consumers. But make no mistake: The company is a dairy processing powerhouse, coming in at No. 88 in Dairy Foods' 2021 listing of the top 100 North American dairy processors (Dairy 100).
Those of you who are baby boomers or older Gen Xers surely remember the old Wonder bread slogan: "helps build bodies in 12 ways." Although it was retired sometime in the 1970s, the catchphrase was seemingly everywhere for years. It referred to the vitamins and minerals added to the bread to promote health.
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.
Conversations tied to dairy processor sustainability typically focus on plant-level efforts such as wastewater reduction or reuse, energy-efficiency-minded improvements and recyclable product packaging.
Cultured dairy products, dairy products fermented with lactic acid bacteria, have been around for absolutely ages. The COVID-19 pandemic and a bit of innovation on the part of dairy processors, however, have combined to build consumer demand in a number of cultured dairy segments during the past year or so.