Got (soy) milk? Consumers begin to pull away

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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