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U.S. Dairy Consumption
by Michael Hutjens, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

URBANA -- Americans are consuming more cream, sour cream, ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt and flavored milk as the annual June Dairy Month approaches, said a University of Illinois Extension dairy specialist.

"There are some exciting factors in the future for dairy as well," said Mike Hutjens. "Schools are beginning to offer single-serve plastic containers for milk to improve nutrition while reducing high sugar-based soda consumption.   And some leading fast-food restaurants are offering flavored milk, leading to skyrocketing milk consumption by children.

"Adults are using energy drinks that use whey proteins and other milk protein fractions."

In 2004, Hutjens said Americans consumed 582 pounds of milk equivalents per person.

" Illinois only produces 156 per pounds of milk per capita so we are a milk-deficit state," he noted.

Cheese, at 38 percent, is the number one dairy product for consumers, followed by 32 percent for fluid milk, 13 percent for butter, and 8.5 percent for ice cream.

Fluid milk consumption is 32 percent of consumer's milk use with 30 percent of that figure being 2 percent milk, 15 percent fat-free milk, 13 percent 1 percent milk, and 3 percent flavored milk.

Specialty milks grew 10 percent from 2002 to 2003 (the last year for which figures are available) accounting for 7 percent of all milk sales including enhanced and fortified milk at 51 percent, 19 percent for soy beverages, 16 percent for lactose-free milk, and 14 percent for organic milk.

" Des Moines consumes the most milk for a large city at 18.7 gallons per person compared to a U.S. average of 11.5 gallons per person," said Hutjens. "Chicagoans consume 8.7 gallons per person and New Yorkers, 7.5 gallons per person."

Illinois ranks fifth in the nation in producing ice cream products, number two in cottage cheese, and number four in low-fat cottage cheese.

Some dairy products, however, saw a decrease in consumption.

"There was a 6 percent decline in buttermilk consumption from 2002 to 2003," said Hutjens.

"Fat-free milk saw a 3.9 percent decline in consumption, whole milk consumption decreased 1.7 percent, and low/reduced-fat milk consumption dropped 1.2 percent."

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