Milk is far from a cash cow these days. In fact, with a 30% decline in per-capita milk consumption since 1975, farmers are having trouble justifying the cost of maintain their herds, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Even with an increase in sales of milk-related products such as yogurt and cheese, the demand for milk is shrinking. Americans consumed 20.2 gallons of milk last year on average — a 3.3% decline from the year before.
Between the declining market (the primary drinkers of milk, children, are a shrinking part of the overall population) and a hike in feed prices (due to an increase in the cost of feed due to last summer’s drought), milk producers are beginning to re-think the marketing of their product.
With new products and packaging, milk farmers hope their product can appeal to an older, more upscale market. Individual serving packages and health-related concepts such as protein-enhanced milk and sugar-free milk are all part of an effort to redefine the product for the new market reality.
In addition, the popular “Got Milk” marketing program and website is now encouraging visitors to be aware of milk products that don’t come from cows, such as soy and almond milk. The site refers to these products as “imitation” milk.