18 Great Milk Consumption Statistics

Drinking milk is encouraged every day in some way. It is said to build strong bones and encourage growth, but milk consumption has been decreasing steadily since the 1970s.

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In 1978, 76% of households reported that they drank milk at least once per day. In 2010, only 42% of households reported daily milk consumption.

Milk Consumption

Part of the reason for this reduction in milk consumption is that some warnings have come out from medical groups about the dangers of dairy products. Milk products are thought by some to promote diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. If milk is seen as being harmful to one’s health, then people aren’t going to drink it.

  • Total milk production worldwide is estimated to be over 746 million tons.
  • 206 million pounds. That’s the amount of milk that the United States is able to produce every year, accounting for about 30% of the world’s total production.
  • The average American cow is able to produce over 22,000 pounds of milk over the course of a lifetime.
  • The average price of a gallon of milk in the United States, including organic and fortified milk: $3.82.
  • 152 times. That’s how often an American will either drink milk or consume a product that contains milk as an ingredient or an additive

People might not be drinking milk as often today, but they are consuming more milk products than ever before. This means the revenues within the milk industry have been either stable or growing over the years. Considering the average gallon of milk costs less than a 12 pack of canned soda in most locations, there is still value in the milk market as a beverage. This means the problem isn’t related to value in the milk industry. It’s a marketing problem.

How Has The Dairy Industry Changed Since 1980?

  • Yogurt and cheese consumption is up 300% over the last three decades.
  • US milk sales in 2011 fell to their lowest levels since 1984, with the average person consuming just over 20 gallons of milk over the course of a year.
  • 29.8 gallons of milk. That’s how much each person consumed in the US over a year in 1970.
  • Milk is the 4th most consumed beverage in the US behind carbonated soda, bottled water, and beer.
  • Between surveys in 1977-78 and 2007-08, the share of pre-adolescent children who did not drink fluid milk on a given day rose from 12% to 24%, while the share that drank milk three or more times per day dropped from 31% to 18%.
  • In the last three decades, the number of people who drank 3 or more servings of milk per day dropped from 13% to 4%.
  • Americans born in the early 1980s consume fluid milk on 0.3 fewer occasions per day than those born in the early 1960s. Those born in the early 1960s consume milk on 1.1 fewer occasions than those who were born in the 1930s.

There are definitely generational influences at play within the milk market today. Older generations see milk as a healthy beverage that is an alternative to beverages like juice or soda. Younger generations, on the other hand, are exposed to consistent health warnings about drinking milk and this causes them to avoid it. When those same health warnings are applied to soda, fewer in the younger generation will drink it as well. Unless something changes in the milk market soon, however, the Baby Boomers and their parents will soon not be around to save this beverage and it may fade into obscurity.

How Much Milk Is Consumed Around The World?

  • Finland leads the world in milk consumption, averaging more than 360 kg per capita per year.
  • 6 countries in the world consume more than 300 kg per capita every year and all of them are in Europe: Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, and Montenegro.
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC] drinks the least amount of milk, with consumption rates at just 1.28 kg per capital annually.
  • North Koreans consume 4x more milk than people who live in the DRC.
  • The average person in the world today will consume 108 kg of milk.

Some people aren’t drinking milk because they don’t have much access to the product. Others are just choosing not to drink it because of personal preferences or fears of potential health risks. US sales of milk might be down, but they are still strong in other parts of the world – especially Europe. Combine that with the increase of milk-related edibles and this industry looks to have a bright future indeed.

Global Milk Production Facts