|LWAY as a COVID-19 play:|
Lifeway Foods, Inc. Increases Production to Support Accelerated Demand and Local Communities during COVID-19 Health Crisis
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April 14, 2020 16:50 ET | Source: Lifeway Foods, Inc.
Expects First Quarter 2020 Preliminary, Unaudited Net Sales to Increase 2% to 4% from 1Q19 with the Month of March Net Sales Up Over 13% Year-over-Year
Delivers Second Consecutive Sequential Quarter of Sales Improvement with Strong Industry Tailwinds
MORTON GROVE, Ill., April 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lifeway Foods, Inc. (Nasdaq: LWAY) (“Lifeway” or “the Company”), the leading U.S. supplier of kefir and fermented probiotic products to support the microbiome, today provided a business update in conjunction with reporting its fourth quarter and full year results for the period ended December 31, 2019 which was filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Lifeway also announced that it expects preliminary, unaudited first quarter 2020 net sales to increase 2% to 4% as compared to the first quarter of 2019 with the month of March net sales up 13% year-over-year.
“We are pleased with our solid end to the year and strong start to 2020. Our team’s execution of our long-term strategic plan, Lifeway 2.0, is demonstrated by the sequential improvement in our sales trends in the fourth quarter resulting in our ability to reinvigorate growth which has accelerated into the first quarter of 2020 with net sales expected to be up 2% to 4% year-over-year including a really strong March monthly sales,” commented Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our current focus is the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, as well as local and national communities during this time of unprecedented uncertainty and crisis related to COVID-19. At Lifeway, we are committed to supporting the accelerated demand for retail sales and community aid donations through an increase in our kefir production, and we are instituting the Lifeway Heroes Commitment Award, an hourly bonus for employees in our production and warehouse facilities in recognition of their incredible work. In addition, Lifeway is providing donations to Singer and songwriter Jewel’s Inspiring Children, Mount Sinai Hospital, Meals on Wheels Chicago, Food Bank for New York City and other local and national food pantries to help ensure first responders and those in need have access to microbiome-supporting products and are able to nourish themselves and their families. To date, Lifeway has donated over 45,000 servings of kefir, and we plan to continue providing additional product for as long as needed.”
Ms. Smolyansky continued, “During this time of shelter-in-place as a result of COVID-19, 40% of Americans are more proactively taking care of their physical and emotional health and 17% are consuming more immunity and overall self-care supporting products such as probiotics and vitamins, according to IRI. In the first quarter of 2020, we have increased our production to meet accelerated demand at both grocery retail and online grocery as more consumers focus on self-care and nutrition to aid in their overall health and wellness needs. Kefir has emerged as a top 2020 consumer choice for gut health and it continues to rise with people becoming increasingly educated on the importance of a healthy, functioning gut and how it can determine consumers overall well-being. Based on a 2017 study from The Nutrition Society the health benefits of fermented milk drinks such as kefir included improved digestion, anti-inflammatory effects and the stimulation of antioxidants which can aid disease prevention. We believe Lifeway is well positioned for long-term growth and value creation with strong industry tailwinds to fuel our business as we increasingly serve consumers looking for more self-care, immunity and gut health options during this time of global health crisis and uncertainty.”
Lifeway expects to continue to benefit in 2020 from strong industry tailwinds including lower dairy and oil prices as well as the following highlights:
According to IRI: Dairy is up 11% on a dollar basis for the Total U.S. MULO for the year-to-date 2020 period ended March 22, 2020Social Chatter is increasingly focused on self-care with a 438% Surge vs. the average in mentions as U.S. COVID-19 confirmed cases increaseIn the 52 weeks ended March 8, 2020, the total supplement market was up more than 6%. For the one-week period ended March 8, 2020, during which coronavirus concerns in the U.S. began to scale, sales growth for overall dietary supplements skyrocketed to more than 35%According to Mordor Intelligence: For fermented dairy, including kefir, a 9% compound annual growth rate is expected between 2019 and 2029According to the New York Times analysis of data from Earnest Research: In a 7-day period that ended on March 18, grocery sales were up 79% from the previous yearBetween March 26 and April 1, sales were up 7%. Among the biggest winners: online grocery delivery services and meal kit companies
A pre-recorded conference call and webcast with Julie Smolyansky discussing these results with additional comments and details will be available today at 5:00 p.m. ET. The webcast will be available over the Internet through the “Investor Relations” section of the Company’s website at lifewaykefir.com. An audio replay will be available through April 28, 2020. North American listeners may dial 844-512-2921 and international listeners may dial 412-317-6671. The passcode is 1139162.