Dairy sales surge during coronavirus lockdown, figures show

Dairy farmers have been buoyed by a huge spike in sales of milk and cheese during the peak period of the coronavirus lockdown.

Figures from Kantar show that 94% of UK households bought milk over the past four weeks, compared with only 16% buying dairy alternatives.

Cheese has also seen unprecedented increases in sales, with consumption increasing 48% during lockdown.

Milk Your Moments, the £1m joint-funded marketing campaign which ended on 31 July, helped drives sales as the public chose to consume and connect over their favourite dairy-based foods to get them through lockdown.

See also: Milk Your Moments campaign reaches millions

Kantar data show that a 2.9 billion cups of tea and 1.7 billion cups of coffee were drunk over the peak lockdown period, increases of 21% and 19%, respectively.

Working from home has resulted in more people cooking and making their own sandwiches and lunches, as well as cooking from scratch dishes such as homemade pizza, which saw a 235% jump in online conversations.

Home cooking and the craze for banana bread also caused sales of butter to spike in the week of 22 March, with a year-on-year increase of 69% in weekly sales.

Creating positivity

Dairy UK chief executive Judith Bryans said: “Clearly when it mattered most, consumers turned to the foods they know, trust and enjoy when they were in the height of lockdown.

“We all came together to make this campaign happen and we should be incredibly proud how it’s created positivity for dairy and increased awareness around mental health issues, during such an uncertain time.

“We should also see it at a starting block to the future because we need to talk to our consumers on an ongoing basis.”

Rebecca Miah, AHDB head of dairy marketing, said: “The Milk Your Moments campaign was hugely important, to not only support our industry in difficult circumstances, but to give back to our loyal consumers in a time of national crisis.

“Understanding that dairy has such a crucial part to play in human connection as well as nutrition is a real step change for the dairy industry, and we should continue to be proud of our importance to society, with these strong growth numbers demonstrating the fact.”

The campaign also successfully hit its target of raising £100,000 in support of the UK’s leading mental health charity Mind.