Dairy consumption

Dairy consumption

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
Following a 50-year growth trend, U.S. consumers continue to crave delicious dairy products—like milk, cheese, yogurt and butter.

12.4 pounds, specifically, that’s how much U.S. dairy consumption – per person – increased in 2021.

Data from the USDA Economic Research Service reports the new record of 667 pounds of dairy consumed per capita in the United States. That kind of increase has a direct bottom-line impact – and it excites industry leaders like Jeff Lyon, of Farm-First Dairy Cooperative.

“That was outstanding news. And I think the dairy farmers should take a look at that because they’re the ones that have put the dollars in. And I think it shows that the work that the various promotion groups are doing is making tremendous strides, and people do love dairy, they want dairy as part of their diet. It’s obvious that you can see that.”

The upward trend actually began in 1975 – when USDA started tracking dairy consumption. But a result from the COVID pandemic had an unexpected benefit for dairy producers – and partially fueled last year’s dairy surge. Families stayed home, and in many cases, adopted a more wholesome diet, one that included more dairy products.

“Bunch of people found out that they really do like dairy because we saw that great resurgence, and they found out, hey – we like this. Tasting milk is good, we had a lot because we’re eating at home, and it’s cheap, and everything we’ve been consuming has been good.”

Since the nation’s dairy herds are more efficient than ever, producer more milk from fewer animals, it’s increasingly important to have steady markets for milk and dairy products.

“If we didn’t see that increase, in either the domestic consumption or increases in our exports, where would that milk go? And what would our dairy industry look like? It’d be contracted severely, so it’s all good news.”

The good news doesn’t stop there. U.S. dairy exports are rising quickly during a time when other world markets, such as Europe, Australia and New Zealand, are no longer moving the needle.

“There is a real opportunity, I think, for us to even expand on the percentage of milk equivalent that gets exported. It was reported one out of every six tankers of milk is basically exported. And I recall, I think, it wasn’t too long ago that that number was one out of seven.”

 There’s no question more and more people are realizing the benefits of dairy – and worldwide, milk is doing a lot of bodies a lot of good. Visit holsteinusa.com for more information.

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