Demand for milk and dairy products has shifted dramatically over the last few weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak. American Dairy Association North East (ADA North East) is actively working with retailers in its six-state region to ensure a safe, abundant milk supply for consumers.
“We know milk supply in retail stores is fluctuating because of accessibility issues in these unprecedented times,” said ADA North East CEO Rick Naczi. “With schools using a fraction of the dairy products they usually do and with out-of-home restaurant dining drastically reduced, processing plants have had to adjust to meet the demand for retail needs. Our retail team immediately redirected its work in stores to help retailers and to support dairy farmers as we navigate through these changes.”
In the past two weeks, the ADA North East retail team has helped stock more than 54,400 dairy products in stores throughout the region. On Thursday, April 2, our team assisted several retailers stock to 4,746 units of fluid milk.
The team shifted from its traditional audit program that includes store visits to assess dairy case hygiene and conditions when the initial surge for dairy sales happened and store staff became stretched by elevated demand for staples like dairy. Because of our team’s long-term relationships with store managers, their staff know and trust the valuable skills we can offer.
Initially, consumers attempted to stock up on essential items, including milk, and many stores posted limits on the amount of dairy and other necessities that could be purchased per store visit. Over the last week, shoppers have decreased bulk purchasing.
To ensure that stores are making milk available, this week our retail team contacted the major retail chains in our market area – representing about 1,400 stores – to confirm that their corporate offices have lifted the limitations on the amount of milk and dairy products shoppers can purchase. However, several farmers responded that limit signs are still posted in some stores. In response, our team contacted chain headquarters again about sign removal and determined that some stores are challenged with receiving deliveries of milk and other dairy products on time. Until distribution and supply is corrected, stores may temporarily continue to post quantity limits.
Our retail team will continue to assist stores in enhancing retail sales as long as possible under these current conditions.
How can you help? If you see a store that is still limiting milk sales, please take a picture, note the location, date and time and send to Beth Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can work with the chain to rectify the situation.
ADA North East will continue to work on behalf of dairy farmers. If you have concerns or suggestions about addressing the challenges during this time, please call 315.472.9143.
About American Dairy Association North East
American Dairy Association North East (ADA North East) is the dairy farmer-funded organization funded by participating dairy farmer’s checkoff investment to build demand and sales for milk and dairy foods throughout the local region. Representing more than 10,000 dairy farm families in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia, ADA North East develops and implements local programs to drive milk and dairy sales at retail outlets and in schools. The organization also conducts consumer education about dairy through events, traditional and social media, and in collaboration with health professionals through National Dairy Council®. ADA North East works closely with Dairy Management Inc.™, the national dairy checkoff organization, to support nutrition research, national partnerships and developing export markets for dairy to bring a fully integrated promotion program to the region. For more information, visit www.AmericanDairy.com, or call 315.472.9143.