over 4 years ago • 1 min
This chart shows how the total US sales (in dollars) of different milk varieties have changed since 2015. It’s nuts.
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.
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.
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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