Milk Biz Scrambles as Sales Sour

Americans drinking less of it than ever

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 11, 2012 3:36 AM CST

(Newser) – The long decline in American milk drinking has accelerated, leaving producers facing what they describe as a major crisis, the Wall Street Journal finds. Americans still get through an average of more than 20 gallons each of the stuff per year, but that is down nearly 30% from 1975 and last year's 3.3% decline was one of the biggest on record. Trends behind the drop in milk drinking include the rise of bottled water and the lower proportion of children in the population.

Though sales of yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products have risen, producers and retailers are scrambling to find ways to reverse the slide in milk sales, including selling it in smaller packages. Specialist products like the "muscle builder" version of Rockin' Refuel high-protein milk are proliferating, and the milk industry plans a major marketing campaign to portray milk as the "real thing" in contrast to "imitation milk" like soy or almond milk.

Rising milk prices caused by rising grain prices haven't helped sales.   (AP Photo/Dinesh Ramde)
These ladies could be out of a job, as Americans drink less milk than ever.   (AP Photo/Jackie Johnston, file)
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The last time I was a heavy milk drinker, I was six years old. What would you drink it with? Spaghetti? - A Chicago-area shopper sums up the milik industry's problem

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