Why do milk prices at the grocery store fluctuate?

The price of milk at the grocery store can fluctuate due to changes in supply and demand, just like other foods. Other factors, including transportation and input costs, also can impact price. Dairy foods are still one of the most cost-effective investments you can make for your family’s health.


Who sets the price of milk at the grocery store and how much does the farmer receive?

Farmers do not set the milk price. Wholesale and retail prices are determined by a complex formula of supply and demand, along with other factors. There is often a variance in the retail price of milk from store to store, and from city to city. This is because grocery retailers, mass merchandisers, convenience stores and drug stores determine their retail prices differently, taking into account processing, transportation and marketing costs. According to recent USDA data, on average, dairy farmers receive about 30 cents of every dollar consumers spend on food.


What if my family is on a tight budget?

While food budgets are tight for many, dairy foods remain a solid value for their great taste and nutrition. Dollar for dollar, no other food offers as much nutrition as milk. At about .25 cents per 8-ounce glass, on a gallon basis, milk is a bargain when you think of all the liquid assets inside. It provides nine essential nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D, which are so important for overall health.


Are there any foods I can substitute for dairy?

There is no substitute since milk is one of the most nutrient-rich beverages you can buy. Here’s a price point comparison, for an 8-ounce serving, to other beverage items, none of which have the same natural, nutrient content as milk:

Milk: $.25
Soda: $.45
Orange Juice: $.62
Bottled Water: $.22
Sports Drinks: $.38-$.75
Energy Drinks: $1.04
Plant based (almond, soy, rice) beverages: $.50