In just five years, Class I milk sales have slid from 35.5 percent to 30 percent. That’s according to Federal Milk Marketing Order data that compares 2012 to 2017.
Why should that matter?
Class I, or fluid milk sales, represent the highest return to producers’ milk checks.
For example, when consumers spent $10 at a grocery store on dairy products, farmers received $5.10 cents for whole milk. That number drops to $3.20 cents for cheese . . . $1.90 for ice cream, reported Economic Research Service economists with USDA.
Two factors at play
It’s been well-reported that fluid milk sales have been falling for decades now. That’s one reason that Class I market share continues to shrink.
Then there’s the fact that milk production has grown substantially. In just the past five years, U.S. milk production climbed 7.4 percent. If these two trends continue, Class I sales will start to begin with a “2” next year as in 29 or so percent.