ARDEN HILLS, Minn. (June 28, 2022) – In the latest episode of our Rooted in Tomorrow podcast, Land O’Lakes, Inc. Senior Vice President of U.S. Dairy Foods Heather Anfang stops by to celebrate National Dairy Month. In addition to thanking dairy farmers for their incredible work, Heather—who oversees our U.S. Dairy Foods business—shares how her team has managed through the coronavirus pandemic and continues to tackle challenges related to inflation, supply chain and anything else that comes their way.
Heather credits agility and nimbleness for overcoming some of the hurdles that the pandemic presented.
“In the early days of the pandemic, we were making decisions in minutes or hours that previously might have taken us weeks,” she said. “It was good for our team to see how agile, how fast, how nimble we could go. I think we learned a lot from that.”
This agility was especially important when in-person schooling and restaurant doors shuttered, decreasing the demand for foodservice dairy products. Thanks to Land O’Lakes’ diverse portfolio, Heather's team was able to shift food service products to retail.
She explains, “We had milk in our California milk shed that was going to a co-packer that was producing products for our foodservice channel, specifically for K-12. [Then] the schools shut down, which we could have never foreseen. That milk needed to find a home. So, we took that milk and we produced it into five-pound bags of mozzarella. And we sold it through the retail channel.”
Heather also speaks to the agility of dairy product development, which has been influenced by pandemic-related trends. Recently, Land O’Lakes announced a new, innovative product – Butter Balls. The pre-portioned balls of butter were inspired by consumers who picked up cooking at home during the pandemic.
“In the pandemic, people [were] in kitchens, cooking all the time. And they [were] learning that cooking with butter is actually different. There's a flavor, there's texture, there's functionality that actually really provides that oomph to the meal differently than if you don't use butter,” said Heather. “I made chicken the other day and threw in a couple of Butter Balls. It melts on the pan easy. I don't have to get out a knife. I don't have to cut my stick. No mess. Beautiful simplicity, convenient.”
Heather closes her time on the podcast by recognizing June Dairy Month and thanking dairy farmers for feeding the world.
“It’s a time for us to stop and reflect on not only the wonderful goodness of dairy, and all the products that it produces for all of us. But it's also a way for us to stop and thank our farmers. It's been interesting, I think in this pandemic, we've all gotten a little bit more keen to understanding [the food system] … A real shout out to our farmers who work every day to feed all of us. It's important.”
Hear more from Heather by listening to the full episode here.
Rooted in Tomorrow is an ag business and innovation podcast hosted by Land O’Lakes Chief Communications Officer Kim Olson. It brings together industry leaders for conversations about unlocking farming’s true potential and changing the world for the better. You can listen to it on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and more.