Feb 23, 2023 - Economy

Milk consumption hits all-time low as FDA says others can use the name

Data: U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing to allow companies to continue adding the word "milk" to the names of drinks based on soy, oats, almonds and other products.

Why it matters: That's bad news for dairy milk, which has been suffering a decades-long decline in popularity.

By the numbers: Dairy milk consumption hit an all-time low in 2021 at about 16 gallons per person, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  • That's down from about 29 gallons when officials began tracking the figures in 1975.

The big picture: Dairy milk sellers, which argued that plant-based drinks should not be called milk, have been ailing.

  • Dean Foods and Borden Dairy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2019 after years of sales declines.

The bottom line: If milk does the body good, Americans increasingly aren't buying it — at least not the traditional kind.

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