Total U.S. milk consumption has been on a slow but steady decline for many years. But, the double-digit dollar sales declines reflected here are due almost entirely to last year’s collapse in wholesale dairy prices, after farm-gate prices reached record highs the prior year, in 2008.
Unit sales figures indicate that consumption has been flat for the past 18 months, with supermarket channel volume dropping 0.3% in calendar 2009, and by 1.4% during the latest 52 weeks ending June 13.
Whole milk once again bore the brunt, with unit sales were down more than 6%. Due to declining prices, that drop translated into a 15.6% slide in dollar sales for the subcategory. Skim and lowfat milk fared better, with volume down less than 1%. And, unit sales growth continued for milkshakes, kefir/soymilk and flavored milks/eggnog/buttermilk.