How Much Does Milk Cost?

Without milk, your morning cereal just wouldn’t be the same. Over the years, the general price of milk has not increased to meet the current economic trends– so much so that dairy farmers are currently finding it hard to make a living in the industry. Milk costs vary per state and are affected by the quantity, place of purchase, and type.


Average Milk Costs in U.S.

According to A.C. Nielsen scan data, the average retail price for a gallon of milk in the United States in June 2009 was $2.72 for whole milk, $2.63 for reduced fat and $2.55 for skim milk [1].

In September 2010, a gallon of milk typically sold for an average of $3.08 for whole milk, $2.99 for reduced fat, and $2.92 for skim milk in the United States [2].

Neilson Retail Pricing keeps track of current milk cost averages – available for viewing on a downloadable file on the California Department of Food & Agriculture website.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Milk

Prices for milk vary according to the quantity you purchase. Milk is sold in many different volumes, including by the gallon, half-gallon, liter, and single-serve cartons. A gallon of milk may cost the most, but for cost per amount – single-serve cartons and containers boast inflated prices.

Where you purchase your milk affects the cost. For example, purchasing a gallon of milk at the grocery store can cost around $1.99, whereas the same quantity is sold for $3.99 at the local gas station or drugstore.

Specialty milks also cost more, especially when they are organic. In the grocery store, Organic Valley Milk sells for an average of $3.99 per half-gallon. A gallon of Wegman’s store-brand organic lowfat milk costs around $5.79. Flavored and chocolate milk also costs more than whole, lowfat and fat-free milk. For example, a gallon of Wegman’s chocolate milk costs $3.99, while a gallon of their whole milk is priced at $1.99.

Sources:

[1] http://www.progressivedairy.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2894:1309-pd-what-does-a-gallon-of-milk-cost&catid=49:management&Itemid=75

[2] http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/dairy/retail_prices_main.html

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