U.S. per capita demand for cheese and butter far outpaces fluid milk.
Source: USDA’s Economic Research Service
U.S. consumption of dairy products is expanding, with the fastest growth occurring in products with relatively high milk-fat content.
USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates commercial disappearance (a measure of consumption) of fluid milk and other dairy-containing products in two different ways:
- based on the milk fat content of the various products (milk-equivalent milk-fat basis) and
- based on the skim solids (proteins, lactose, and minerals) content of the products (milk equivalent skim-solids basis).
Estimates on a milk-fat basis place greater weight on products with relatively high milk-fat content, such as butter and cheese, while estimates on a skim-solids basis place greater weight on products with relatively high skim solids, such as beverage milk and nonfat dry milk.
Since 1995, commercial disappearance on a milk-equivalent, milk-fat basis has grown twice as fast as disappearance on a milk-equivalent skim-solids basis. This pattern reflects increasing U.S. per capita consumption of cheese, butter, and other products with relatively high milk-fat content, along with declining per capita consumption of fluid milk.