Whole Milk is More Expensive than Other Milk. Here’s why.

Of all the dairy milks you will find at the grocery store, whole milk is the most expensive type of common milk; there are several why whole milk is always the most expensive.

Whole milk is more expensive than any other milk because the fat added back into milk which could have been used in other foods such as butter. While producing milk, fat globules are removed by the means of a centrifugal spinner. With the addition of fat globules in whole milk, the price increases.

Though the price of milk changes frequently, whole milk will always be more expensive than other dairy milks. This is due to the system of processing dairy products.

Process of milk making

In the past, farmers were forced to milk their cows and to separate the cream and skim milk by hand. Having to do such processes manually was due to a lack of technology. This lack of technology made the process of producing milk much more time consuming as well as grievous for the farmer. In the 1800s however, inventions to aid agriculture began to arise. Among these inventions include vacuum cups as well as milk separators.

In 1860, vacuum cups were invented by Hippocrates, and in 1878 milk separators were invented by Carl Gustaf De Laval. These two inventions greatly improved the milking process for the farmer. Vacuum cups and milk separators had detrimental flaws at the beginning of their creation. However, since then, vacuum cups and milk separators have progressed tremendously. Vacuum cups and milk separators are commonly used within the production of milk today.

Vacuum cups are used to milk the cow, rather than a farmer having to do so by hand. Vacuum cups are attached to the cow’s teat, and then the milk is transferred into refrigerated vats. It is essential that the milk does not get warmer than five degrees Celsius. In less than a two day period, the milk is taken to various milk factories to continue the process for consumption by the public.

Milk separators are used to separate the cream or fat and the skim milk. This is done through a process called centrifugal separation. Although the fat and skim milk will eventually separate itself naturally due to gravity, milk separators quicken this process. This machine has conical discs that can reach up to 10,000 revolutions per minute. The fat in the milk is separated into the center of the machine and the skim milk is separated to the outer edges of the machine.

Why is whole milk the most expensive?

The most valuable part of the milk is the fat. The fat globules within milk have many uses. The most common use of the globules includes cream, butter, and yogurt. After the fat has been removed, the price of milk will naturally decrease. Likewise, with the addition of fat, the price of milk will naturally increase.

Cost of whole milk

The price of whole milk is gradually increasing with time.

In 2017, the average price of whole milk was $3.35. Despite the price of the milk increasing over time, in 2018, the average price of whole milk in the United States dropped significantly to $3.27 per gallon.

In 2020, the average price of whole milk spiked once again. The average price per gallon in the United States is $3.55. This makes it even more expensive than it was in 2017.

Cost of other milks

The average price of 2% milk is $3.21. This is not significantly cheaper than whole milk, but over time it will make a slight difference.

The average American drinks roughly 18 gallons of milk per year (sourceOpens in a new tab.), thus the average individual who drinks 2% would consume $58 per year and the average individual who drinks whole milk would consume $59 per year

The average price of fat free milk is under $2. This milk is cheaper as none of the fat globules need to be added back, thus allowing the excluded fat to be used for other foods.

The average price of low fat milk is $3.26. This milk is less expensive than whole milk as not as many of the fat globules are added back in.

Is the price worth it?

Whole milk has a creamy, rich taste. This is because of the excessive amount of fat that the milk contains. Whole milk can have up to 5% of its weight being fat. The average calorie count for whole milk is 150 per serving. In addition, there are about 8 grams of fat per serving.

Other kinds of milk which are healthier, do not have such a thick and creamy consistency. It has been reported that they have a more watery and thin consistency. Despite the taste difference, other kinds of milk are more nutritious. For instance, skim milk has 0 grams of fat per serving, and 2% milk has only 5 grams per serving. Compared with whole milk, the differences are astounding.

Because of these statistics, it can be concluded that whole milk is indeed just better tasting, not better for you. While whole milk has a rich taste, other milk types are much richer in their nutrients.

What causes the prices to change?

The price of any kind of milk changes monthly.

One reason for this is the price of feed for cows going up. With a price increase of cow feed, farmers may not be able to afford as many cows as when the feed was much cheaper.

Farms, in general, are currently suffering, which means there are fewer cows producing milk for the general public.

Another reason for the price of milk changing is the amount of milk a collection of individuals may drink. The demand and supply change often thus resulting in a price change.

What is the cheapest milk?

The cheapest milk is skim milk. Skim milk on average costs about $2 per gallon. Skim milk is much cheaper than whole milk because it does not add any of the fat that was removed at the beginning of the process. Because skim milk does not require the addition of fat, it costs the producers less, and therefore the consumers are charged less as well.

Is it really the most expensive?

No, whole milk is not the most expensive type of milk. Organic milk is the most expensive type.

Organic milk is the most expensive because it causes the farmers to have to use organic feed for their cows. This is much more expensive than regular feed. The price of organic milk has been steadily increasing for years.

In 2019, the average cost of organic milk in the United States was $4.76. This is over a dollar more expensive than the cost of whole milk.


Being part of a really big family, cooking for big groups of people is just how we do things. Cooking, baking, and outdoor cooking have all been huge parts of my life, and I love sharing what I've learned with you.

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