Move over, organic milk. Health-conscious consumers are increasingly choosing a new bovine beverage: Grass-fed milk.
Organic Valley whole milk from grass-fed cows is now the company's best-selling item at Whole Foods stores nationally, says George Siemon, chief executive of the La Farge, Wisc., organic dairy cooperative.
Branded “Grassmilk,” it has cream on top and is lightly pasteurized with heat. A half-gallon sells for close to $6, more than a dollar more than the average price of organic milk and more than double the price of traditional milk.
Many shoppers buying Grassmilk “have almost an intuitive sense that grass is better,” Siemon says. Some research suggests milk from cows that graze on pasture contains more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than milk from cows fed mostly feed.
Grass-fed milk’s growing niche market reflects the shifts in consumer tastes that are transforming the food industry. Shoppers are flocking to premium products with a perceived or real health benefit. While traditional milk sales have been falling for a decade, sales organic and plant-based milks made from almonds or soy are rising.
Today, the market for $6 specialty milk is still small, but food industry leaders say mainstream shoppers are drawn to foods they feel have simpler ingredients, prompting the companies to offer new products.
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