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Dairy Demand a Bright Spot During the Pandemic

AgDay TV

October 5, 2021

Dairy demand continues to be a bright spot for the dairy industry right now. That's despite higher input costs, inflation and the battle to find enough workers. But demand continues to win out with USDA reporting pandemic shoppers are finding comfort in dairy products such as butter and ice cream. That surge at the store helped cushion the shift from the sudden loss of restaurant demand at the start of the pandemic.

“There were some months when we were selling 30% more ice cream at grocery stores and 20-25% more butter, and that’s where we saw different segments in the industry pull some of the other segments forward,” says Matt Hendrick of International Dairy Foods Association. “Milk was flat and cheese was flat, but cheese has been the big driver for a few years now. Cheese is really just kind of through the roof in terms of demand, but we saw butter driving consumption. It’s up 3%. And, we saw ice cream, which had been flat for a few years, driving consumption up 6%.”

USDA's Economic Research Service shows last year, the average American consumed 655 lb. of dairy products. That's 3 lb. more than the previous year.

Wisconsin Investing in Processing

Wisconsin is providing up to $4.5 million in business tax credits to help one of the world's largest dairy suppliers grow.

Agropur is planning to build a new $168 million cheese factory in Little Chute, Wisconsin. Agropur will be eligible for the tax credits over the next four years as long as it meets hiring and capital expenditure goals. The expansion will allow the facility's milk processing to more than double from 300-million lb. a year to 750-million lb. a year.


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