MADISON (WKOW) -- Numbers show most people have traded in their daily glass of milk for a sports drink or bottled water.
National numbers show milk sales are at their lowest level in nearly 30 years, but it's not all bad news for Wisconsin.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says milk sales reached 6 billion gallons last year. It might sound like a lot, but it's less than half what it was in the early 1980s.
"There have been strategies put in place to encourage people to drink flavored milks," says Ben Brancel, secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
WKOW met up with Brancel as he toured BouMatic, a global manufacturer of dairy equipment based in Madison.
He says the numbers aren't as devastating to the dairy state as you might think.
"Cheese is the key component for Wisconsin's dairy industry health," Brancel says.
The secretary says cheese sales continue to go up, and it takes about ten pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese. That explains why, despite the lacking sales of milk as a beverage, milk production increased by 4.4 percent in July of 2012 compared with July of 2011.
While most people are opting for sports drinks over a glass of milk, athletes at local schools like Madison West High School are doing the opposite.
"It is pretty inexpensive and milk's something we produce here in Wisconsin," says Mike Lipp, athletic director at Madison West.
Lipp says he heard a speaker a few years ago say chocolate milk is the best way to refuel your body with protein after a tough workout.
That prompted him to buy a new refrigerator for supplies of milk for the track and field, wrestling and cross country teams.
"We have 180 kids in cross country between the boys and girls. They need 6 to 8 ounces of chocolate milk after workouts and that worked out to be about 12 gallons of chocolate milk a day," Lipp says.
He says the parents take turns making sure the fridge is stocked with that chocolate milk.
MILWAUKEE (WKOW)-- Sales of milk as a beverage have dropped to the lowest level in nearly 30 years.
Experts say consumer habits are shifting towards sports drinks, bottled water, and bottled tea away from milk. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says beverage milk sales were about 6 billion gallons in 2011, less than half the level from the early 1980s.
The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board sales of yogurt and other dairy products have offset the decline of beverage milk. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says cheese consumption is up as well. Wisconsin has a 48 percent share of U.S. specialty cheeses.
Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson is expected to address the news at a press conference at noon on Tuesday. He will be visiting BouMatic, a global manufacturer of dairy equipment.
Hear what Secretary Newson has to say in Lysee Mitri's reports on 27 News at 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m.
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