Got (soy) milk? Consumers begin to pull away

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It’s another strike for milk and imitation milk beverages as consumers are instead reaching for bottled water, energy beverages and other “specialty” drinks.

“Specialty beverages are starting to cannibalize the soy milk market,” Philippe de Laperouse, managing director of agribusiness consultants HighQuest Partners, told The Wall Street Journal.

Soy milk saw a 500 percent increase in sales over the last 15 years, but since then sales have steadily declined. This trend continues as soy milk sales have dropped by 2.9 percent in the past year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read, “Soy milk sales sour along with dairy.”

The Wall Street Journal also acknowledged the dairy industry’s milk “crisis” in another article released this week, which examined the decline of milk consumption in the country and how the industry is trying to revive consumer interest.  

The dairy industry "is coming to recognize this as a crisis," Tom Gallagher, CEO of Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff program, told The Wall Street Journal.

This isn't news to dairy farmers. The decline in fluid milk consumption has been in place for 40 years.

See “Milk consumption about to fall below a key threshold.”

In this month's issue of Dairy Herd Management, Editor Tom Quaife took on the fluid milk crisis, noting that while there is no “silver bullet," many options still exist. See, “Let’s solve the fluid milk crisis.”

As The Wall Street Journal article notes, a “muscle builder” version of a high-protein milk is being sold by Arizona-based Shamrock Farms Co. in an attempt to win back those who buy non-dairy sports drinks, while busy families are the target for better packaging and child-friendly single servings. Dean Foods Inc., has introduced low-sugar chocolate and lactose-free milk. Read more here.

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Red Bluff Ca.  |  December, 12, 2012 at 08:55 AM

The fact that a lot of people are getting wise to GMO's is probably playing a big role in this. I'm actively boycotting all GMO products and everything with soy. My milk and cheese is organic or I don't eat or drink it. I'm willing to pay more. Eating more expensive healthy food is more affordable if you aren't a glutton

Bakersfield, CA  |  December, 12, 2012 at 01:24 PM

Kelly, don't forget also, that immunizations give our children autism. Mass media wisdom is a wonderful thing.

MO  |  December, 12, 2012 at 10:44 AM

I personally think that a large part of the problem is that we (the dairy industry) have given into the premise that some forms of dairy products are bad for you. Here is what I mean by that: When is the last time that you watched a commercial for milk that wasn’t focused on low fat. By focusing on low fat we are implying that whole milk is bad. Think about it, do you want a checking account or a free checking account? By saying one is free the implication is that you are paying too much if you are paying at all. By saying low fat we are implying that fat is bad and the best we can offer you is low fat. I am not saying that we should not offer and market low fat milk. What I am saying is we should stop implying that the alternative is bad. See article “Whole Milk Helps Keep Kids Slim” in the June 13th, 2012 edition of Dairy Herd Network.

Batavia, NY  |  December, 12, 2012 at 10:51 PM

If you think advertising low fat is not a good idea, what about this organic garbage? The whole premise of organic milk is that it is better than the "other" milk. How much is that hurting milk sales when people think that they need to pay the higher organic milk price? And after drinking that ultra-pasteurized goop, who in their right mind would want to drink milk again anyways?

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