Understanding Retail Dairy Product Availability During Quarantine

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – American Dairy Association North East is taking decisive action to help ensure retail dairy shelves are well-stocked during the COVID19 pandemic.

“With dramatic shifts in the distribution network, and school and restaurant closures, the dairy supply chain has been disrupted,” said ADA North East CEO Rick Naczi. “Initially, panic-buying led to limited availability to dairy in stores, and now as consumers are preparing most meals at home, the demand for milk at grocery stores continues to skyrocket. Fortunately, the distribution system is catching up, products are becoming more readily available, and supply limits have lessened.”

Naczi added that ADA North East retail staff has been working with major retail chains at the corporate level throughout its six-state region – representing around 1400 stores – to remove in-store limits to milk purchases.

However, many stores are challenged with receiving deliveries of milk and other dairy products on time. As distribution and supply continues to improve, stores may temporarily continue to post quantity limits on these high-demand items.

“If you see a store limiting product quantities or out-of-stocks on certain items, politely ask a store employee if you can purchase more or when they expect their next delivery,” said Naczi. 

“Essential operations” like processing plants and grocery stores are continuing to work every day -– just like farmers. Like many other essential operators, they are coping with limited staff to perform necessary tasks as employees are balancing personal needs during this pandemic.

Coupled with increased demand at the store level for favorite food items like milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, and with people purchasing more during a single trip in order to shop less frequently, it’s understandable that stores are struggling to keep well-stocked.

Additionally, some processors are limiting the variety of products they produce in exchange for boosting production of the most popular items – such as milk gallons.

Some smaller retailers like dollar stores, pharmacies and convenience stores are apt to sell out of dairy products more quickly because of limited refrigeration space and less-frequent deliveries. To help ensure the desired products are available, ADA North East encourages shoppers to check with the store to find out when the next dairy delivery is expected.

ADA North East’s retail team will continue to assist stores in enhancing retail sales as long as possible under these current conditions. For more information about the retail efforts, 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.