August 26, 2004

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if we could buy milk in two-liter bottles or 12-pack cans? It might put the pricing structure for the dairy product in better perspective, as we simply do not buy many of our favorite beverages by the gallon. (I wish they sold it in five-gallon jugs or even a 50-gallon drum as quick as my family goes through it.)

I ran across an article regarding this subject a while back and I thought I would pass along some price comparisons that might surprise you.

A dairy trade magazine created a list of beverage costs for a number of the top drinks available at the supermarket. The survey was done earlier this year in a Wisconsin store and was broken down in cost per eight ounces.

A gallon of milk can be purchased for around $2.50 per gallon. There are roughly 17, eight-ounce servings per gallon, making the price per unit, 14 cents. Even at $5.00 a gallon, milk would only cost 29 cents per eight ounces.

The only other beverage that matched this low price was Coke bought by the 12 pack cans.

Even bottled water was more expensive as a six pack of Aquafina ran 19 cents for every eight ounces. A two-liter of Pepsi ran 20 cents per eight ounces with Powerade sports drinks costing 22 cents per unit.

Minute Maid orange juice ran 31 cents per eight ounces and Gatorade (64-ounce bottle) was 32 cents for the same sized serving and Florida Natural orange juice (1/2 gallon carton) was 34 cents, the same price for Silk the soy-based milk substitute.

Prices were more than double for such drinks as Miller Lite beer (18-pack cans) which sold for 42 cents per eight ounces, the same cost for V-8 juice. Arizona Tea was priced at 49 cents for the sample size with Snapple juice costing 50 cents.

Grabbing a Coke bottle from the vending machine cost 87 cents per eight ounces.

Folgers Jakarta coffee ran 87 cents per test unit while Gallo White Zinfandel wine cost the consumer 90 cents for every eight ounces. Topping the list was the popular energy drink Red Bull which goes for a whopping 1.99 per eight ounces.

While local prices may vary from this Wisconsin survey, the point is that milk is relatively cheap compared to the alternatives, not to mention all the health benefits. If you were buying any of these other beverages by the gallon you would definitely appreciate the low cost of milk.

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