In an unpredictable year driven by pandemic challenges, Prairie Farms Dairy closed 2020 with significant volume growth in nearly all dairy categories at grocery stores and other retail outlets. This was partially driven by the sizable change in eating-at-home versus away-from-home habits consumers developed during the pandemic.
Prairie Farms’ product portfolio offered consumers everything they needed to make the most of on-and-off-again stay at home orders for schools and businesses in 2020. With more breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks being consumed at home, as well as the baking craze, demand for the company’s products surged.
For Prairie Farms’ products in the baking/cooking category, like butter, cream cheese, half & half and whipping cream, sales increased by 60 percent during the early pandemic months, with a year-over-year gain of nearly 40 percent. In the frozen category, Prairie Farms ice cream and North Star frozen treats satisfied consumers’ need for comfort, indulgence and nostalgia with an average gain of 40 percent in early pandemic months.
“As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, consumers turned to trusted and familiar brands to meet their needs. When pantry stocking began in March, we did our part to keep our retail partners’ dairy cases filled without interruption. In turn, consumers rewarded our brand by stocking up on Prairie Farms’ products,” said Rebecca Leinenbach, VP of marketing and communications. “Many behaviors adopted during the pandemic will likely continue in 2021, and we will build on the upward momentum by adding new products to our portfolio.”
Consumer loyalty to the brand was reflected in a recent IRI report, “Year-End 2020 Trends, 2021 Emerging Growth Pockets,” where Prairie Farms was recognized as one of the fastest-growing medium brands among all generations and income groups. Companies were ranked on dollars per 1,000 household percentage change versus a year ago (food and nonedible consumables) based on the IRI Shopper Loyalty database sample of 65 million households and 6 million static households. IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights.
Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., headquartered in Edwardsville, Illinois, is one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the Midwest and parts of the South. Elements of the cooperative include more than 800 farm families, 8,100 employees, 51 manufacturing plants, more than 100 distribution facilities and annual sales of over $3 billion. The Prairie Farms distribution footprint covers over 30 percent of the United States; products are available in grocery chains, mass merchandiser stores, club stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, drug stores, schools, foodservice outlets and warehouse distribution centers. Prairie Farms charitable giving program, Our Caps, Your Cause, supports a variety of non-profit organizations.