yogurt with spoon making yogurt

Strong Yogurt Sales Keep Essential Workers Busy During COVID-19

Today we celebrate the #essential workers in the dairy industry who are working hard to support yogurt demand during COVID-19. See what it takes for these #essential workers to transform fresh milk into the delicious and nutritious yogurt Americans love.

Americans Stock Up on Yogurt during COVID-19

As stay-at-home orders were issued and businesses closed, Americans took to the grocery stores to stock up on their favorite essentials—including yogurt. Retail yogurt sales surged mid-March, with sales up 31% compared to the same time last year.1 Consumers also stocked up on other dairy items, including cheese, ice cream, and milk, boosting retail sales of these products as well.

COVID-19 Highlights Benefits of Yogurt

While yogurt is a household staple for many Americans, impacts of COVID-19 like decreased access to restaurants, as well as to work and school cafeterias, brought to the forefront the many benefits of yogurt. The ready-to-eat convenience of yogurt proved to be a big help to those unaccustomed to cooking at home and to parents who suddenly needed healthy snacks on hand for kids at home due to school closures.

boy eating yogurt

In addition, satiety from the protein in yogurt became another important benefit, especially for people busy working from home. In the days ahead, the perceived immunity benefits associated with yogurt’s probiotics may be what drives additional growth in yogurt sales.

#Essential Workers Ramp Up Yogurt Production

With food and agriculture declared “essential critical infrastructure” by the government, those working in the dairy supply chain became #essential workers overnight. From dairy farmers to production workers to quality assurance technicians, #essential workers continued to come to work to keep the supply chain strong and keep American families fed. 

#Essential workers in yogurt manufacturing quickly faced new challenges. Keeping themselves protected while on the job meant things like modified schedules, reconfigured workstations, social distancing, and wearing face coverings. On top of this, demand for yogurt shot up, making them busier than ever. 

Making Yogurt

It takes a number of steps for #essential workers to turn milk into yogurt. The first step in yogurt production is receiving raw milk. The milk must meet certain specifications, such as microbiological, sensory, and nutritional criteria, before it can be received into the processing facility. Then, the milk is pasteurized, which inactivates pathogenic microorganisms along with any microorganisms that might compete with the starter cultures. Afterward, the milk is homogenized to ensure a stable emulsion and prevent separation of the milkfat.

Next, the pasteurized milk is cooled, and starter cultures are added. Yogurt starter cultures include the lactic acid-producing bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. After inoculation with these bacteria, the mixture is incubated to keep it slightly warm—the perfect conditions for the starter cultures to grow.

essential worker making yogurt

As the starter cultures consume milk’s natural sugar, lactose, they produce lactic acid. During this fermentation period, the acidity gradually increases until the milk’s protein begins to coagulate, forming a curd. Typically, the curd is mixed to produce a creamy texture before the yogurt is filled into containers. 

Thank You, #Essential Workers!

Beyond these basic yogurt making steps, #essential workers are busy with many additional steps to produce a wide variety of popular yogurts in the market—such as sweetened, flavored, fruit-on-the-bottom, and Greek yogurts. 

Here at Glanbia Nutritionals, we want to thank these #essential workers for their continued hard work in supporting the dairy supply chain. We also want to celebrate our own team members for coming to work each day, committed to being there for our customers.

We offer a wide range of protein, clean label, and functional ingredient solutions for fresh dairy products, including Grade A and rBST free options, for dairy products such as yogurts, and dairy beverages and desserts. To learn more about our portfolio of dairy-based ingredient solutions, contact Glanbia Nutritionals.


1. Laca, A. Did COVID-19 Secure Increased Retail Demand for Dairy? Retrieved from https://www.milkbusiness.com/article/did-covid-19-secure-increased-retail-demand-for-dairy

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