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Why Are Americans Consuming Less Fluid Milk? A Look at Generational Differences in Intake Frequency


  • Stewart, Hayden
  • Dong, Diansheng
  • Carlson, Andrea


Americans are drinking less fluid milk, on average. In this study, ERS researchers find that declining consumption since the 1970s reflects changes in the frequency of fluid milk intake, rather than changes in portions. USDA survey data collected between 1977 and 2008 reveal that Americans are less apt to drink fluid milk with their midday and night- time meals than in earlier years, reducing the total number of consumption occasions per day. Moreover, more recent generations of Americans show greater decreases in consumption frequency, holding constant other factors such as education and race. The majority of Americans born in the 1990s consume fluid milk less often than those born in the 1970s, who, in turn, consume it less often than those born in the 1950s. All other factors constant, as newer generations with reduced demand gradually replace older ones, the population’s average level of consumption of fluid milk may continue to decline.

Suggested Citation

  • Stewart, Hayden & Dong, Diansheng & Carlson, Andrea, 2013. "Why Are Americans Consuming Less Fluid Milk? A Look at Generational Differences in Intake Frequency," Economic Research Report 262223, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:262223
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.262223

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hiroshi Mori & Dennis L. Clason & Jay M. Lillywhite, 2006. "Estimating price and income elasticities in the presence of age-cohort effects," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 201-217.
    2. Davis, Christopher G. & Dong, Diansheng & Blayney, Donald P. & Owens, Ashley, 2010. "An Analysis of U.S. Household Dairy Demand," Technical Bulletins 184308, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    3. repec:mpr:mprres:2443 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. R. A. Schrimper, 1979. "Demographic Change and the Demand for Food: Discussion," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 61(5), pages 1058-1060.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lin, Biing-Hwan & Buzby, Jean C. & Anekwe, Tobenna D. & Bentley, Jeanine T., 2016. "U.S. Food Commodity Consumption Broken Down by Demographics, 1994-2008," Economic Research Report 262198, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    2. Schott, Lenna & Bernard, John, 2015. "Comparing Consumer's WIllingness to Pay for Conventional, Non-Certified Organic and Organic Milk from Small and Large Farms," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 46(3), pages 1-20, November.


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