Not milk? How beverage tastes are changing

Americans are drinking plenty of water and wine. But we're not so hot about juices, sodas and powdered mixes.

By Kim Peterson Jan 10, 2013 6:35PM
Image: Man drinking bottled water while driving ( PhotoAlto/SuperStock/SuperStock)Americans are drinking less milk than before, MarketWatch reports in an interesting piece on drink trends. We're drinking 30% less milk than in 1975, but we're loving wine.

Our tastes in beverages are slowly shifting, which is normal for a population growing increasingly diverse. Part of the move away from milk is simply because there are fewer children in the U.S., on a percentage basis, now than in previous decades.

Here are the changes that other beverages are seeing, according to MarketWatch:

Juice on the decline. Juice consumption has dropped pretty dramatically to 5.17 gallons per American in 2011 on average. That's down from 6.42 gallons in 2004. There are several reasons for the slide, including the fact that juice is expensive, and it's a little too sugary for many tastes.

Soda plunges. Soda is the bad boy of the refrigerator lately, and you can see that reflected in the huge plunge in consumption. Americans drank a mere 44 gallons of soda in 2011, on average, down from the 52 to 53 gallons at the turn of the century. That's a good reason why soda companies have been so busy getting into water, flavored teas and other beverages.

Water's dramatic rise. Going almost hand-in-hand with the drop in soda is the continued interest in bottled water. We drank an average of 26.27 gallons of bottled water last year, reports MarketWatch, citing data from The Beverage Information Group and the U.S. Census. Back in 2001, we drank just under 17 gallons.

Coffee is flat. Given the big changes in water and other beverages, coffee's steady run has been remarkably stable. For the last decade, the average American has downed 26 to 27 gallons of coffee each year, and that doesn't seem to be changing.

Tea getting more popular. Now we know why Starbucks (SBUX) and other major food companies are taking a renewed interest in tea. We're drinking more of it, though nowhere near the amount of coffee we consume. The average American drank 7 gallons of tea a year in 2011, up from 6.7 gallons in 2001.

No powdered drinks. Americans are not fans of mixing powdered drinks. Maybe we don't like the work. Or maybe they're just too weird. But powdered teas, protein shakes and chocolate mixers are falling out of favor. Americans only drank 3.9 gallons of powdered drinks on average in 2011.

Big fans of wine. America has come a long way with wine. Now, you can even find decent boxed wine at the grocery store, and Costco (COST) carries some of the best-priced brands around. It's no surprise, then, that wine consumption per American rose to 2.36 gallons in 2011 from 1.95 gallons in 2001.

More spirit lovers. In the same vein, distilled spirits are seeing a major rise as well. Americans drank an average of 1.5 gallons of gin, vodka and other spirits in 2011, up from 1.25 gallons in 2001.

Beer gets booed.
Not all alcoholic beverages are seeing an increase. The beer industry has suffered as Americans found new favorites in the wine and spirits category. The average American drank 19.79 gallons of beer in 2011, down from 22.08 gallons a decade earlier.

More on Money Now

Jan 10, 2013 8:33PM
Water will all ways be best AS LONG AS WE CAN KEEP IT CLEAN ?
Jan 10, 2013 10:57PM

Red wine?  You bet!  Just read the AMAs benefit reports on most red wines.  Very healthy.  In moderation.



Jan 11, 2013 8:41AM
I'm drinking cough syrup right now.
Jan 11, 2013 9:50AM
another likely cause for decreased milk consumption is the increase in the US of minority populations...and a higher percentage of lactose intolerance in some of those ethnic groups. 
Jan 10, 2013 11:47PM
Check out the benefits of raw milk. I used to drink regular milk until it started causing the runs, then I drank lactose free milk which was better but not great. Now I drink raw milk which has all the enzymes for better metabolism. It tastes better, has great health benefits and satisfies my thirst. Bottom line, no more runs.  
Jan 11, 2013 1:30PM

We kinda drink and eat what we want....And we have a big selection...We are lucky.


I drink water and coffee all day...Booze when I feel like it....Beer occassionally.

Jan 11, 2013 11:38AM

Beer gets booed ? I'd never do that !

Crown Royal - absolute all around favorite!

Brunello de Montalcino/ Banfi- If you can find a 90' vintage- grab it !


Milk? Every Sunday with pancakes, a nice, ice cold, glass full !!

Jan 11, 2013 10:18AM
Just a beer guy when I earn the priviledge. That is work out a few times a week Compete at some sport. Milk with a fiber cereal. Sometimes wine with a big meal. Coffee to socialize with during the day. Very little soda pop. Have to stay lean.
Jan 11, 2013 1:25PM

I've had cornbread like that...And make some once in a while, but not in the skillet.


Last person, I knew that drank Buttermilk was my Dad, Father-In-Law, and G-Parents..

I can't handle it.......yum? 

Jan 12, 2013 2:55AM
Organic wine. No sulfites, no headaches.
Jan 11, 2013 11:58AM
Nothing tastes as good as a big glass of buttermilk.YUM.
Jan 11, 2013 11:13AM

Now that name.....alpha possum, just puts a big old smile on my face.....


We've got a couple of them infiltrating with the cats....They even eat together sometimes.

We give them names, if we can tell them apart...





And Pumpkin.

Life is fun out in the boonies and weeds...

Jan 11, 2013 9:29AM
Most of the wine increase is just in cheap sweet wines like Moscato. 
Jan 11, 2013 3:17PM
Why do we call it cows' milk? Because it's from cows and for cows (little ones). We don't feed mothers milk to cows and probably shouldn't be drinking cows' milk. 
Jan 10, 2013 8:10PM
In order of preference:

heII w/ the rest

Jan 11, 2013 2:51AM

More people are drinking Energy drinks..........I am hooked on Red Bull man.....its the Bomb.

I know its not necessariily good for me but hell neither is any thing else except water !


I dont drink beer............gotta do something . I have read a little caffeine is actually good for you.

Jan 11, 2013 12:40AM
it doesn't help when your doctor tells you your fat, and to stop eating fatty foods,, so milk has gotton a raw deal,,   we should make skim milk illeagle,  they're just watering it down???    the real problem is cafinated beverages,,   if caffeeene  was illeagle  more people might drink milk,,,   Milk Sucks/ Got Beer???    its true if you drank 3 cups of coffee in your life time,  than  you are schziphrenic,, I can prove it
Jan 10, 2013 10:23PM
I switched to Almond Milk a couple years ago.  Never went back to cow's milk.  Cow's milk isn't really that good for you anyway.
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