No record milk prices were received by farmers in 2023, but like many grocery staples, retail milk prices climbed higher. In fact, the price for a gallon of milk reached a new high last year.

When consumers grabbed a gallon of whole milk from the dairy case, the average price in 2023 was $4.34. That was up 8 cents from 2022, which was also a record year, and it far surpassed the previous record of $3.84 per gallon established in 2014. The price per gallon in 2023 ranged from $4.29 in August to $4.43 in January, and this was the first year the price averaged above $4 per gallon for all 12 months.

Retail milk price averages are based off surveys conducted in 30 cities or metro areas. The price is collected for the most common brand in the store, based on shelf space, and does not reflect any sales or price adjustments.

The lowest average price by quite a bit was found in Louisville, Ky., where a gallon of whole milk averaged $2.94. The most expensive average price was revealed in Kansas City, Mo., where whole milk was $6.05 per gallon. Kansas City was the only location to average over $6 per gallon, and just three cities — Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia — averaged more than $5 per gallon.

The average price for a gallon of reduced fat (2%) milk was $4.29, also a new record. Prices ranged from $4.25 per gallon in August to $4.37 per gallon in January. This was the second straight year that reduced-fat milk averaged over $4 per gallon.

Organic milk set retail records, too

If you’d like to compare conventional prices to organic prices, the retail cost for a half gallon of organic whole milk was $4.83. That record price was up 25 cents from 2022. At that level, a gallon of organic whole milk cost customers $9.66 last year. Organic reduced-fat milk came in at the same price per half gallon for 2023 and has mirrored the cost of organic whole milk since 2015.

The most expensive place to buy a half gallon of organic milk in 2023 was St. Louis. Organic whole milk averaged $6.54 per half gallon, while organic reduced-fat milk cost an average of $6.60 per half gallon.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2023
January 4, 2024
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