Who’s buying your milk?

We identify who is consuming dairy, and what their future buying habits and food desires will be, to develop products that utilize more of your milk and meet consumers’ evolving buying habits. Your checkoff provides this research to drive our industry forward, find new markets, identify new opportunities, and help dairy companies determine what products to develop to meet the market challenges of our changing society.

Per capita consumption of dairy is up 19% over the past 40 years. Understanding consumers and their eating behaviors — and being proactive with product innovation — will be key to continuing to grow dairy consumption.

We study the more recent generations for their future purchasing power — Generation X, millennials, and Generation Z – but our aging population, which is currently the baby boomers, also has a lot to offer the dairy industry. Today’s 72 million dairy-loving baby boomers will continue to dominate the U.S. market. That 72 million figure comes from Pew Research. By 2030, one of every five Americans will be over the age of 65. Although people drink less milk as they age, they also tend to buy more ice cream, cottage cheese, and many varieties of specialty cheese.

The cultural diversity of the U.S. is providing immense opportunity, too.

Today, roughly 20% of the U.S. population is Hispanic, and the U.S. Census Bureau projects this will rise to 28% in the next several decades. This shift is already evident in the grocery store where sales of Hispanic-style cheeses such as Cotija and Queso Fresco grew five times as fast as other cheeses in 2018.

Lactose-free milk sales grew by 11% last year, driven by a growing Asian population. The share of Asians in America is set to double by 2060. Not only will this growth in lactose-intolerant residents continue to drive sales of lactose-free milk and related product innovation, it will likely also boost sales of aged cheeses that have less lactose than fresh cheeses.

These demographic shifts will change not only the face of America but also the face of dairy, and it offers opportunities to focus on the unique needs of these growing segments.

The more we know about consumers, the better we can promote dairy products that meet their needs. Our continued research informs our decisions to help drive demand for your milk.


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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2020
February 17, 2020
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