Beverage milk sales drop to lowest mark since 1984

Sales of milk as a beverage have dropped to the lowest level in nearly 30 years.

Experts say consumer habits are shifting toward sports drinks, bottled water and bottled tea and away from milk. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says beverage milk sales were about 6 billion gallons in 2011, less than half the level from the early 1980s.

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board says sales of yogurt and other dairy products have offset the decline of beverage milk. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says cheese consumption is up as well. Wisconsin has a 48 percent share of U.S. specialty cheese sales.