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Dairy Products

Grocery Store's Dairy Case

Dairy Products


A trip to the grocery store's dairy case shows the variety of products resulting from the milk. Fluid milk is available in several varieties - Skim Milk (0% fat), 1%, 2%, and Whole (approximately 3.5%). Raw milk is separated into skim milk and cream, and then re-blended to a standard fat content for each product. Because cows' milk averages more than 3.5% fat, the extra cream is used to make other liquid products like whipping cream, half and half, and eggnog or it is manufactured into butter or ice cream. Fluid milk in the U.S. is pasteurized (milk is pasteurized by rapidly heating it to 72 - 75 °C for 15 to 20 seconds, and then quickly cooling) to kill potentially harmful bacteria. Fluid milk is also homogenized (fat droplets are dispersed so they do not float to the top) and is fortified with vitamins A and D, which along with the absorbable calcium naturally in milk are needed for strong healthy bones and teeth. Over the most recent two decades, fluid milk consumption per capita has declined, and sales of low-fat milk have increased relative to whole milk. Recent innovative marketing of convenient single servings of milk and introduction of a wide variety of milk flavors have increased sales of individual servings.

Milk Bottling

Following the increased health consciousness of U.S. consumers in the late 1980s and 1990s, there was a period of decreased sales of butter, which is made by churning the cream portion of milk. However, sales have increased recently, as have sales of other high-fat products, such as premium ice cream and full-fat cheese. Cheese, which is made primarily from the protein (casein) portion of milk, also contains butterfat and currently accounts for a large percentage of dairy product demand and consumption. Per capita consumption of cheese consistently increases from year to year in the U.S. and is largely driven by demand for fast food and pizza. While demand for buttermilk (the portion of cream remaining after butter is churned out) and whey (the portion of milk remaining after cheese curd is removed) are negligible, the dried-powdered forms of these products are used as additives in the baking, candy, sport-drink, and animal feed industries. Whey powder also forms the basis for many brands of calf milk-replacers.

Health conscious consumers have also begun to purchase more yogurt relative to ice cream, and numerous low fat frozen deserts are available in grocery stores. Furthermore, milk is used directly in baked goods, candy and other ready to eat foods, like sauces and salad dressings.

Cheese Vat

In many states, the sales of meat from cull cows and bull calves that are raised as veal or dairy steers account for a significant portion of total beef production. Most cull cows, because they are older and produce less tender cuts of meat, are utilized for production of ground beef. Dairy veal and dairy steers are sold in similar markets and under identical USDA grading systems to more traditional beef breed steers. Byproducts of dairy beef production include leather, fertilizer, cosmetics, glue, and pharmaceuticals.


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