Milk Consumption on the Decline Skip to content

Milk Consumption on the Decline

By Larissa Kyzer

Photo: Golli.

Icelanders’ milk consumption has declined in recent years. Since 2010, total sales of “drinking milk” have gone down by 25%, or 7.9 million litres. The category “drinking milk” nýmjólk (whole milk), léttmjólk (low-fat milk), undanrenna (skim milk), and fjörmjólk (a vitamin-enriched blend of low-fat and skim milk) and is meant to differentiate between milk and other dairy products.

In 2018, 23.8 million litres of milk were sold, which is down 2.8% from the previous year. All combined, dairy companies that are part of the Association of Dairy Producers (SAM) sold 2.2% less milk between 2017 and 2018. The association reports a decline in the sales of all dairy products except cream and powdered milk.

While milk sales have decreased, however, sales of dairy products such as cream, powdered milk, and spreads have increased considerably since 2010. Cream sales have gone up the most, or around 30.4% since 2010 (7.1% just from last year).

Skyr sales have also fallen last year, with 169 fewer tons sold. Additionally, 102 fewer tons of cheese were sold in 2018.

Even as milk sales are down, however, people in the dairy industry are being encouraged to innovate. In 2017, the dairy cooperative Auðhumla gave three grants for the development of entrepreneurial projects that use milk as a key ingredient. One of the grants was ISK 3 million [$24,556; € 22,056] for innovative uses of whey that is a byproduct of milk production. Another ISK 3 million was given for the development of Jökla, a milk-based liquor that would be the first of its kind to be produced with Icelandic milk. The third grant went to a pilot project that seeks to develop health products from colostrum.

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