Since 1970, per capita milk consumption has been in the 20s. It started out in the upper 20s ― 29.8 gallons of per capita fluid milk sales in 1970, to be exact ― and has fallen steadily ever since. Now, it’s precariously close to falling out of the 20s and into the teens. 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fluid milk sales totaled 53.739 billion pounds in 2011. If that number is divided by a U.S. population of 311.8 million in the middle part of last year, and then pounds are converted to gallons, the answer is 20.04. To read the USDA report, click here and go to Table 10.

On Monday, declining fluid milk consumption was the topic of this article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In the article, Vivian Godfrey, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program, acknowledges, “Milk has lost out to other beverages, primarily bottled water.”

Bottled water and soft drinks, through branding and innovative marketing, have been able to assume their own distinct identities, whereas milk is largely seen as a commodity.

One solution is to emphasize milk during certain times of day or during certain activities when it is most likely to be used relative to other beverages. Read “Promote milk by the ‘occasion.’”

Also, see “Dairies fight decline in milk consumption.”