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Dairy Facts 2016

Fluid Milk, Cream and Cultured Dairy Product Production

For decades the U.S. dairy industry had seen total sales of fluid milk products remain at about the same level despite population growth. However, over the past few years sales of fluid milk products have declined steadily and significantly. At just over 52 billion pounds, total fluid milk sales in 2013 were the lowest since 1982.

  • At 52.034 billion pounds, USDA’s Economic Research Service reported U.S. total sales of fluid (beverage) milk product sales in 2013 were 2.1 percent lower than the prior year. This was the fourth straight year of a decline in total fluid milk product sales. This is only the second time this has happened going back to 1955; between 1977 and 1982 there were five straight years of declines.
  • Sales of whole milk fell to another record low in 2013 at 13.935 billion pounds. The last time total sales of whole milk increased from one year to the next was in 1999, and whole milk sales have declined by just over 50 percent since 1984.
  • Meanwhile, sales of reduced fat milk increased in 2013 by 6.4 percent to 18.358 billion pounds and sales of lowfat milk fell by 12.3 percent to 7.45 billion pounds.
  • 2013 sales of nonfat milk fell to 7.276 billion pounds, the lowest level since 1993.
  • Meanwhile, sales of flavored milk products, buttermilk and eggnog all fell in 2013 from 2012 levels.
  • Sales of fluid cream products (half and half and whipping creams) fell by 1.8 percent in 2013 to 2.174 billion pounds, the lowest level since 2003.
  • Among cultured dairy products, only production of yogurt grew in 2013 from the prior year, reaching a record level of over 4.7 billion pounds. Production of cottage cheese and production of sour cream both fell in 2013.

Updated February 2015

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