Last year 3.2 billion units of milk were drunk in the UK, a drop of 192 million units (6%) on the previous year

Of all milk drunk, 60% is consumed by children

38% is drunk at breakfast; 24% as an evening snack

Organic milk consumption has grown 163% since 2004

Milk consumption is down 6% on last year

Less milk is being drunk now than last year. Whole milk is still the most popular (54%) followed by semi-skimmed (33%) and skimmed (5%). Organic milk is the only variety that is enjoying year-on-year growth, probably due to its healthier, more natural image.

Drinking skimmed and semi-skimmed milk for health reasons has decreased over the past year, while for whole milk it has increased. This suggests that consumers are looking at milk for its nutrition and healthy qualities, with a reduction of fat intake becoming less important. Other milk products linked to health messaging includes those that contain Omega-3, such as St Ivel Advanced.

Children drink nearly two thirds of all milk and 70% of milk drunk at breakfast is done so by children. This is likely to be aided by new products such as Kellogg's Coco Pops Straws and Nesquik Magic Straws.

Men and women drink an equal amount of milk. Skimmed milk, however, has a female bias as a result of women being more concerned with fat intake. Milk consumed at school/college is increasing - 50 million more units of milk were drunk in schools in 2005 than in 2004.

Lucy Wood