Stewart’s Shops is offering relief to dairy producers and customers during the pandemic.
The dairy industry has been hurting for many years. Dallas-based dairy producers Dean Foods and Borden Dairy each filed for bankruptcy in the past year, citing declines in consumer milk consumption, the rising cost of raw milk and market challenges among the factors.
COVID-19 has added more pressure, forcing many producers to dump milk, according to Stewart’s Shops. However, dairy producers for the Ballston Spa, N.Y.-based convenience-store chain are not dumping milk. The company said it is decreasing its hauling charge in May and providing relief to dairy producers with increased competitive premiums, which could extend into June.
Stewart’s Shops has also decreased retail milk pricing. As of May 4, it reduced pricing of all gallons and half-gallons by 10 cents. This makes a gallon of whole milk $3.49 and a half-gallon of whole milk $2.29. The chain also offers gallons and half gallons of 2%, skim and 1% milk and a half-gallon of chocolate milk.
The dairy industry is producing 15% more milk than Americans can consume due to schools and restaurants being closed because of stay-at-home orders, according to Stewart’s Shops, causing many dairy producers to dump their milk.
Stewart’s Shops relies on 25 local dairy farms to provide raw milk. The chain processes and bottles the milk at its manufacturing plant in Greenfield, N.Y.
“We happened to be in the right position at the right time with our packaged dairy products and our nearly 100 years of experience in the dairy industry,” Stewart’s Shops President Gary Dake said. “Our fresh and local dairy products continue to experience more demand, and we are pleased that we are in a position to offer savings to our customers and relief to our dairy producers during these uncertain times.”
The retailer has experienced remarkable growth in its dairy products, including ice cream, as consumers purchase larger take-home packages, the company said.
Stewart’s Shops is No. 24 on the Top 40 update to CSP’s 2019 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by number of retail outlets. CSP will release the complete 2020 list in June.
Stewart’s Shops is an employee- and family-owned c-store chain that is known for its milk, ice cream, coffee, Easy Food meals and other convenience items. There are 336 Stewart’s Shops located in upstate New York and southern Vermont.