Aug. 7 2019 09:45 AM

Fluid milk is losing market share to another drink, but it is probably not what you think.

Let me tell you a story you may have not heard before. Many moons ago, there was but a few drinks to pick from on store shelves. Your options were milk, coffee, juice, or soda. Things were simple and choices were few. However, as time progressed, so did the innovation of bottled beverages. Very quickly we saw the adaptation of a variety of consumable and highly popular drinks including teas and other flavored drinks.

Fast-forward to the years following 2010; when we walk into a store now it is not uncommon for us to see no less than 20 different varieties of beverages including flavored water, energy drinks, sparkling juices, and so many more. But with all this shelf space being lost to new innovation, can you take a wild guess as to what fluid milk’s biggest competitor is?

For years I thought it was the innovation of nut and soy juices or possibly even soda. But I was wrong.

It’s bottled water. Can you believe it!? Bottled water, of all things!

It’s obvious that people are not filling their cereal bowls with bottled water, but what is apparent is that people are choosing bottled water over milk. The question is why? Why are people choosing bottled water over milk? Is it due to misinformation? Is it shelf life? Is it the lack of refrigeration needed for bottled water? There are a ton of variables that can make up the statistics of lost market share, but one thing is evident: innovation is key to future shelf space of fluid milk.

As we look toward the future of the dairy industry, we need to keep in mind the ever-changing taste and preference of the next generation. Milk is an amazing product full of amazing possibilities due to its incredible versatility. It has been proven that milk is one of the most nutritious and beneficial products on the market, giving benefits of stronger bones throughout your lifetime and efficient muscle recovery after strenuous activities. Milk truly does a body good, yet so many have not been educated on all of milk’s benefits.

Over the last few years, we have seen tremendous advancement in milk-based drinks. I look forward to seeing what’s next.

Tyler Ribeiro

Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.

Join us on Monday, August 12 for our next webinar

Lindsay Ferlito, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, will present “Monitoring and improving cow comfort in freestalls and tie stalls” on Monday, August 12, at noon (Central time).

Cow comfort has a huge impact on a dairy’s bottom line. Monitoring lameness and injuries helps producers identify management and facility factors that influence cow comfort, allowing them to make the right changes and see improvements.

Register at