The consumption of milk in France is steadily declining, but the market is increasing in value. Consumer habits are evolving, and producers are adapting to meet these new demands.
Significant decrease in milk consumption
The consumption of liquid milk in France decreased by 3.9% in 2022, a decline that is part of a structural trend observed for several decades. In 2022, consumption reached 2.65 billion liters, following a 5.6% drop the previous year. This decline was briefly interrupted in 2020 during the health crisis, where an unusual increase of 4.9% was recorded.
Milk is primarily consumed at home, during breakfast or used as an ingredient in cooking. However, its consumption is affected by a lack of interest from some French people in the first meal of the day and the lack of time to prepare their own meals. Furthermore, it faces competition from other morning beverages, notably orange juice.
But the sector’s turnover is increasing
Despite the decrease in consumption, the market for liquid milk saw its turnover increase by 4.6% in 2022, reaching 2.37 billion euros. The average price of liquid milk rose by 7.9% last year, reaching an average of 1.07 euros per liter in large-scale distribution. This increase in market value is partly due to the rise in prices for producers, which has never been so high. Unsurprisingly, this puts a strain on households’ budgets and contributes to making food the main driver of inflation in France.
However, certain categories of milk have seen an increase in sales. UHT lactose-free milk, for example, saw its sales volume increase by 3.3% in 2022 compared to 2021, while sales of flavored UHT milk remain stable. In order to boost sales, manufacturers have been introducing innovations and new product lines in recent years, thus meeting the new demands of consumers.