WASHINGTON — Americans are turning to dairy products at a rate never seen before, according to the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS). New ERS data on annualized per capita consumption of dairy point to cheese, butter and yogurt categories driving substantial growth in per capita consumption of dairy, which reached a record high in 2019.
“Since the USDA began tracking per capita dairy consumption in the 1970s, the trend has continued upward for five straight decades, increasing 21% since 1975,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association. “While Americans have always turned to dairy products as fresh, nutritious staples in their diets, they also value the versatility of dairy in new, delicious, and more accessible products. Thanks to its continued innovation and ingenuity, the dairy industry is poised to continue to grow and deliver nutritious products for Americans.”
In the past decade alone: domestic per capita consumption of cheese is up 19%; per capita butter consumption is up 24%; per capita yogurt consumption is up 7%. Ice cream per capita consumption also rebounded in 2019, increasing by a half-percent over 2018. Overall, ERS data show American dairy per capita consumption across products consistently increasing each year, with 2019 up 6% over the past five years, 10% over the past 15 years, and 16% over the past 30 years.
“The product mix in most demand by consumers is changing—we eat more dairy than we drink these days—and dairy on the whole continues to grow,” said Dykes.
The charts below illustrate the consistent growth in per capita consumption of dairy products.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3 million jobs that generate $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.