According to a recent report about shifts in milk sales in 2020 due to COVID-19 by Dairy Management Inc. and Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), retail milk sales rose 3.6% over 2019, and food banks and USDA purchases totaled 4.1% of all milk sales.

In a year that brought major disruption to everyday life, the milk category saw a downturn of only 5 million gallons in 2020 when compared to 2019 sales.

Significant shifts, however, took place under the surface.

  • Food banks and USDA programs posted the largest volume increase at more than 177 million gallons to help households in need.
  • Retail milk sales rose 3.6% over 2019 (more than 142 million gallons).
    • Consumers made fewer but larger shopping trips with grocery and club stores emerging as winners.
    • eCommerce accelerated its adoption rate with trial rising from 11% last fall to 33% this spring.
    • Dollar stores also saw growth, leveraging their value and faster trips.
    • Convenience stores were an exception to retail’s growth as decreased mobility impacted their sales downturn
    • Drug store milk sales also saw a decline as chains struggled to be a necessary shopping location during stay-at-home periods, except when medicine was needed.
  • K-12 schools and colleges and universities experienced significant loss as remote learning took place.
  • Foodservice and restaurants also took a large hit as consumers began eating most meals at home.