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Milk Is Still the Big Cheese of Canada’s Dairy Aisle, But Perhaps Not for Long
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Milk Is Still the Big Cheese of Canada’s Dairy Aisle, But Perhaps Not for Long

Milk: It does a body good. Many of us remember this popular branding campaign from the 1980s, but the sentiment about the health benefits of milk behind it still holds true today. And for many years, milk was the poster child for good health in the dairy section. But in Canada, milk is moo-ving over as select solid options like cheese and yogurt are claiming the spotlight.

In fact, yogurt and cheese are really milking Canada’s dairy channel for all it’s worth. During the past year, total volume sales of yogurt rose 4%, and cheese saw grate sales volume growth of 4%. Comparatively, milk sales declined by more than $25 million during the same period.

Why are yogurt and cheese sales growing? While they could have a dairy godmother watching out for them, the uptrend in sales is more likely the result of current snacking trends. Both cheese and yogurt were listed as top snacking categories for Canadians in a recent global survey report on snacking trends.

Yogurt and cheese may also be helping Canadians meet their health goals as they snack. According to the global snacking report, back-to-basics food attributes like “all natural” and “no artificial colors or flavors” were rated as most important to North American consumers when it came to their snacking decisions.

As we get older, what we reach for when our stomachs rumble changes. Younger Canadian generations tend toward chips, fruit and chocolate – with cheese coming in at No. 5, while yogurt tops the list for older generations, followed by fruit and cheese. These differences align with why consumers say they snack. Younger generations say they snack as a reward or mood booster, while older generations say they snack for nutrition.

But milk isn’t out of the dairy game yet. Even though sales in the overall category are declining, milk is still the largest dairy segment in Canada. When it comes to growth in the Canadian milk market – size matters. For example, sales of single-serve 250 ml milk containers grew 22% over the last year while sales of bottles of a liter or more declined.

Regardless of the milk slowdown, it’s clear that when it comes to dairy, health benefits play a major role in purchasing. So whether you’re filling your glass with milk, or munching on yogurt or cheese, go ahead, have an udder one.