Per capita availability of whole milk continues to decline, low-fat milk steady

A chart showing the U.S. per capita vailability of fluid milk, years 1930 to 2010.

Americans seem to be heeding the advice of nutritionists to seek out lower fat foods—at least when it comes to fluid milk. In 2010, the per capita supply of whole milk available for consumption fell to 5.6 gallons from 6 gallons in 2009, according to ERS’s food availability data, continuing its long-term decline from a peak at 40.5 gallons per capita in 1943. Per capita availability of lower fat milk, which includes milks with milk fat levels ranging from 2 percent to skim milk and buttermilk, began rising in 1967, and in 1987, at 13.1 gallons per capita overtook whole milk. Per capita supplies of lower fat milk have remained fairly stable since leveling off in 1989 at around 14 to 15 gallons. Total beverage milk consumption continues to drop as other beverages compete to quench America’s thirst. The data for this chart come from ERS's Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System.

Download larger size chart (460 pixels by 370, 72 dpi)