September 25, 2019

Fluid Milk Sales Declines Had Been Tempered by Population Increases

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

Total fluid milk sales didn’t vary dramatically from 1975 through 2010, although there were drastic changes in the types of fluid milk products being consumed, report economists with Central Federal Milk Marketing Order. Between 1975 and 2010, increases in population offset declines in per capita fluid milk sales.

The dairy industry has long fought a decline in whole milk sales, dating all the way back to the 1970s—and perhaps earlier. After 2010, total fluid milk sales also dropped—13.3% between 2010 and 2018.

Starting in about 2010, there were declines in per capita sales of skim and reduced fat fluid milks, and these declines finally overwhelmed population increases. And that was when total fluid sales started their drop.  

While whole milk sales dropped from 36 billion lb annually in 1975 to 16 billion lb in 2018. Even so, whole milk sales are on the rebound since they reached their nadir in 2013 at 13.9 billion lb. Whole milk sales have now rebounded to 16 billion lb, similar to what they were in 2007.

Lower fat milks (1% and 2%) saw significant gains for 35 years. They grew from about 11 billion lb in 1975 to 26 billion lb in 2010. But since then, those sales have also decreased to about 22 billion lb. A similar story can be told for skim milk sales. Skim milk sales peaked in 1998 at over 9 billion lb, but have since declined to just over 4 billion lb in 2018.

For more on these changes, click here.