Why Is No One Drinking Milk?

Milk consumption hits lowest numbers since 1984, making the dairy industry worry


Your plate of cookies and bowl of cereal must be feeling lonely: New reports show that milk consumption in America is at a new low, at about 6 billion gallons. That's the lowest figure since 1984. The newest numbers have everyone, most notably the dairy industry, asking — got milk? 

The problem may not just be in changing tastes (and health concerns), but in changing lifestyles. As TIME and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel point out, fewer Americans are eating breakfast each morning, and what does one need for that bowl of cereal? Gotcha. It's why the dairy industry is battling for breakfast-at-the-table, said Vivien Godfrey, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program (and the mastermind behind the "got milk?" campaign) to the Journal-Sentinel. "It's our territory that we have to defend," Godfrey said. "Breakfast at home accounts for the highest portion of milk consumption, by far, of any meal occasion. So we are going to 'fish where the fishes are.'" 

Another battleground for milk? Schools. The beloved milk carton is feeling neglected, as kids reach more for the sodas, teas, and sugary drinks at school. Making matters worse, some schools have cut back on flavored milks, strawberry and chocolate, because health advocates decry their sugar content (even though Olympians drink chocolate milk!). As a result, milk consumption at those schools has dropped even more, up to 76 percent. 

However, there is some hope: Organic milk producers have seen sales grow. The Progressive Dairyman quoted a study from Cornell University, which found that organic milk sales have increased by about 20 percent, while regular milk sales decreased by three percent. 


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7 Comments

tauruslady511's picture

I think there are a few key reasons for low milk consumption. In recent years, we've been introduced to "better" options for regular milk...and lots of folks have switched to those options. Additionally, the price of milk keeps it off many grocery lists, as a staple. Also, in terms of regular milk, skim or 1% milk are "the best" options. As a milk lover, I don't want to drink skim, 1% or almond milk with my cookies! And try, as you might, to get kids to switch to drinking it...NOT!

concerned's picture

I think alot of it has to due with the price of milk. It has gotten to the point where in some households it a luxery item now. Where it used to be a staple item.

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Here's one guy who drinks milk EVERY day. I'm 51 years old and have been drinking milk all my life. For the past 30 years I've drank skim milk........all the benefits of milk( protein, calcium, vitamin D ) without the fat. I also eat low-fat yogurt every day. Milk and eggs are THE BEST protein you can put in your body.

Gods_Pearl's picture

There is one really good reason you must realize that we have lower our consumption of Milk, The price of it is getting out of hand, a family on food stamps will put back the milk or wont even pick it up if it is at almost $4.99 a Gal. I know I have put it down a couple of times.

comcents's picture

There are alot of options when you compare pricing of a breakfast.A bowl of cereal is no longer a quick and cheap breakfast by itself. Now you have many items just as quick and thanks to cereal companies a box of cereal is not the cheapest either.

Mary Faenza's picture

I REALLY BELIEVE THAT MOST PEOPLE ARE AFRAID OF THE CHEMICALS AND HORMONES REPORTED TO BE ADDED TO MILK. i DEAL WITH A LOCAL DAIRY, AND FIND IT IS FRSHER AND BETTER TASTING THAN MILK THAT IS TRUCKED FROM FAR AWAY TO THE (SUPER ) STORES.
MARY FAENZA

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Many people are becoming more health conscious and cutting milk out of their diets. I think that is also partly why the increase in organic milk consumption vs. regular. Milk is a huge contributor to chronic inflammation which leads to other health issues as well. Also a lot of people have started to supplement their breakfasts with protein shakes made with water instead of milk.

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