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Dairy’s gains steady in a year that was anything but

Chad Baker/Jason Reed/Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock Milk jugs in a grocery dairy case
U.S. per-capita dairy consumption increased during pandemic days of 2020.

Last year was difficult for everyone, but the National Milk Producers Federation said that consumers turned to dairy in difficult times, from baking at home to stocking up on fluid milk in the COVID-19 pandemic’s earliest days.

Final consumption data for 2020 is now in, and the spreadsheet confirms what NMPF already knew in: For the third consecutive year, U.S. per-capita dairy consumption increased, to 655 pounds per person from 653 pounds in 2019, showing a resilience in dairy that reflects that of those who relied on it. 

dairy consumption NMPF.jpg

No eye-poppers in this year’s report. A small uptick in yogurt, a gain in butter as it marches back to 1960’s-level consumption, increased buying of both full-fat and lower-fat ice cream – because what’s a lockdown without ice cream? And fluid milk consumption held steady, belying the haters who always use receding prominence as fake evidence of the “death of dairy” even as gains among other dairy products more than outpace any fluid losses. 

In the end, “steady” is what dairy’s been all about. At a time when everything from public health to supply chains have been in upheaval, consumers can count on dairy – for quality, for nutrition, for affordability, and for care in its creation.

“2020 is over, and 2021 hasn’t been a picnic either. But we do know – and the data does show – what consumers have counted on throughout. Dairy farmers are proud to provide products that keep the country nourished. They will continue to meet that steadily growing need until current challenges have passed – and far, far beyond,” said NPMF.

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