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Milk Consumption Down in the U.S.

Cow Milking
Getty Images, photo by Martin Hunter

Milk consumption in the United States has been going down for several years, as far back as 1984 and it’s blamed on the popularity of bottled water. Milk as a beverage has fallen to its lowest level in nearly 30 years. Whole milk sales in 2011 were less than half their level since the 1980s, and milk sales in general show half of American adults do not consume milk. There has been a flood of beverages on the market for consumers to choose from; bottled water, sports drinks, bottled teas, and they have all taken a slice out of milk sales.

Americans are drinking the same number of gallons of beverages, just not as much milk. The dairy industry has chosen ‘breakfast-at-home’ to be one their battlegrounds to get people to drink more milk since breakfast at home accounts for the highest portion of milk sales. Schools are another battleground because 55 million kids go to school every day and if milk doesn’t ‘grab’ them then, they may be lost for life. The good news for the dairy industry is that the sales of yogurt and cheese are on the rise, with yogurt sales up 400% from 30 years ago, to help offset the decline in milk consumption.


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