Surging demand for its 1kg yoghurt pots during lockdown has helped Lancashire Farm offset declines in its wholesale and catering markets.

The Rochdale-headquartered dairy, which also makes mango lassi drinks under the Pakeeza brand, said retail volumes were up as much as 40% in March and April as the coronavirus pandemic initially hit the UK.

The business plans to continue investing in new product lines as it seeks to widen its offering in the midst of the Covid crisis, according the newly filed accounts at Companies House.

“Navigating through the pandemic has definitely been challenging, whilst wholesale and catering markets suffered, retail has been exceptionally strong,” a spokesman for Lancashire Farm told The Grocer.

“In line with the market, customers have been moving to bigger pack sizes as they chose to shop less and buy more. Our kilo pots are the perfect format for this buying behaviour.”

The accounts also revealed the dairy’s revenues had jumped 19% to £45m in the year ended 31 January 2020 as more shoppers bought into the brand alongside distribution gains and strong growth in private label. Pre-tax profits more than doubled to £3m as a result.

“Continuous investment is a key pillar of our ongoing strategy,” the spokesman added.“Adding additional capacity on existing formats, along with automation has been a big focus. However, investing in new formats to enter different more ‘mission-led’ consumption has been another focus, with 2021 seeing this come to market.”

Lancashire Farms has experienced rapid growth in the past five years despite the challenges of a volatile dairy market and supermarket price wars, with sales up from about £25m at the end of 2014.

Earlier this year, the business invested £1m into manufacturing technology and robotics at its Rochdale plant to boost capacity and increase efficiency.