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.
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.
The past year saw reduced demand for cheese on the foodservice side, thanks to widespread pandemic-related restaurant closures and indoor dining bans. However, the picture was much brighter on the retail cheese side.
Ice cream and frozen novelties shows no signs of cooling down. At retail, sales of the comfort food staples soared during early pandemic purchase sprees, and that trend has sustained over the past year.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has many consumers reaching for small indulgences to brighten their days. That reality has been a boon to the frozen novelties category, which Chicago-based market research firm IRI breaks into three subcategories: frozen novelties, ice cream/ice milk desserts and ice pop novelties.
Up until only recently, milk sales in U.S. retail outlets had been on a decades-long decline. As the coronavirus forced many consumers to work, study and/or eat at home, however, retail milk sales benefited.
It has been a very, very good year for cheese, at least within the major retail channels.
Dollar sales within the natural cheese category shot up 17.0% to $15,449.5 million during the 52 weeks ending Oct. 4, 2020, according to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI.
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