U.S. Schools Are Buying So Much Milk, Supplies Are Drying Up
(Bloomberg) -- Schools are purchasing so much milk in preparation for in-person learning that in some areas of the U.S., there’s not enough to go around.
Bottlers are saying that orders resemble pre-pandemic levels, and cheesemakers in the Midwest are being forced to switch from using milk to powdered varieties because they aren’t able to buy enough of the liquid, according to an Agriculture Department report.
Prices for milk on spot markets are closer to 2019 prices, when schools were last open, the agency said.
Schools are a major source of demand for milk, which they need to provide calcium in children’s lunches. Many are finally reopening after being shut down since early 2020. The school purchases are pulling on milk supplies that are already lower in some regions because of excessively high temperatures, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Cows produce less milk in hot weather.
“On the bullish end, milk supplies have already tightened significantly -- in part due to heat and the impact of schools reopening,” said Matt Gould, editor of The Dairy Market Analyst.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.