Chart of the Week: Till The Cows Come Home

Chart of the Week: Till The Cows Come Home

over 4 years ago1 min

This chart shows how the total US sales (in dollars) of different milk varieties have changed since 2015. It’s nuts.

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What does this mean?

Consumers are souring on dairy for health, ethical, and environmental reasons, and that’s tanked consumption: sales of cow’s milk have spilled more than 20% in the last five years.

But there’s no point crying over it. Dairy, after all, has come out of changing consumer trends better than some: soy’s sales have gone down the drain as people swap from soy milk to trendier (and more coffee-friendly) alternatives like almond and coconut.

Why should I care?

The move away from dairy has had huge implications. In states like Wisconsin – which produces 14% of America’s milk – farms have struggled to cope with collapsing demand. Some have merged as a result, propping up milk prices. But the increased prices have hit dairy processors – the companies that turn the raw cow milk into the stuff on the shelves. The biggest, Dean Foods, has seen its share price fall 75% this year.

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Dairy companies aren’t giving up without a fight, though. They’re lobbying the US government to ban non-dairy products marketing themselves as “milk” – and to stop them from being stocked in the same aisle. Some are taking the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach: Dean Foods bought flaxseed-milk company Good Karma last year.

Alternative milk producers, meanwhile, are thinking about cashing out while the going’s good: Swedish firm Oatly is considering a public stock listing. Investors would do well to be wary though: in the alternative meat market, Beyond Meat shareholders have lost 64% since its stock peaked in August…



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