If you haven’t been paying attention, you might not know that goat milk is becoming something of a popular commodity in the US, at long last.
Long considered a niche product compared to cow’s milk, the US is unique compared to the rest of the world which consumes a whole lot more goat’s milk than it does cow’s milk.
Naturally, if you were looking to get some yourself or perhaps are looking to break into the growing market for goat’s milk, you’ll need to know how much it usually costs.
So, how much does goat milk cost typically?
Goat milk typically retails for around $15 a gallon, but the wholesale price is much cheaper, around $4.75 a gallon. The higher cost of goat milk compared to cow milk is due to market and production factors.
Yikes! I know plenty of folks are feeling the pinch during this economy with the climbing price of commodities, and milk among them, but goat’s milk is definitely expensive by any measure.
Keep reading, and I’ll tell you more about the associated factors that influence the cost of goat’s milk, and look at the going prices for goat’s milk in different markets.
Why is the Wholesale Cost of Goat Milk So Much Cheaper?
Goat’s milk, wholesale, is it cheaper for the same reason that all products are cheaper when purchased by a middleman.
A wholesaler will typically buy goat’s milk directly from a supplier for a far lesser cost because they must factor in the cost of storage, distribution, marketing, and sometimes transportation to actually get the goat’s milk to market.
Buying much cheaper, and it’s selling higher, allows them to cover these costs while still making a profit, their margin.
Generally speaking, your average consumer won’t be able to buys goat’s milk at this wholesale price, though there are other ways to get it cheaper…
Is Buying Goat Milk Farm-Direct Cheaper?
Yes, as a rule. Assuming you have a source in your area, be it your neighbor who raises goats or a farm that sells consumer direct, purchasing goat milk direct as usually significantly cheaper than buying it at your usual retail grocery store or other seller.
Although costs can still vary dramatically depending on a whole host of factors, on average you can expect to spend anywhere from a third to half as much on your goat milk that you purchase direct from the farmer.
One of the very best ways to get high-quality goat’s milk cheaply is at your local farmers market.
Particularly if a farm has the resources available to keep the goat milk refrigerated at the market, you’ll usually be able to pick it up in quantity and very affordably.
However, state and federal regulations definitely interfere with the efficacy of selling milk in this way in most locations, so ask around if you’re looking for a source.
How Much Does Raw Goat Milk Cost?
Assuming you can purchase raw goat milk in your area, whether or not it is strictly permitted, it will usually sell direct for between $6 and $9 a gallon, although this is only a rough guideline.
Costs vary dramatically for raw goat’s milk in accordance with its status as a “gray market” item.
Why is Goat Milk So Much More Expensive Than Cow’s Milk?
Goat’s milk is pricier than cow’s milk because the market factors around it have dictated it.
Put simply, goat’s milk is nowhere near as popular in the United States as cow’s milk, and all the farming infrastructure and other supply chains that are connected to the production, transportation, and distribution of goat’s milk influence this cost.
Goat’s milk is a niche product, and accordingly you won’t even see it on most grocery store racks.
Where you do see it, it will have only a very small presence, and accordingly as a specialty item it will typically cost a lot more.
What Affects the Price of Goat Milk?
If you want to drill deeper into the individual factors that influence the cost of goat’s milk, we must first look at the demand for the product.
As mentioned, in the US it’s simply is not that popular (although it is a rapidly growing market segment of interest).
Basically, the only people that are drinking goat’s milk are those that really, really like the stuff or require it to get their dairy intake because they show intolerance to cow’s milk.
Because it is far less popular than cow’s milk, there’s not that much incentive for grocery stores and other retailers to stock it.
This means that there is not much reason for wholesalers to purchase it from farmers, and even if a grocery store wanted to stock it, it’s hard to justify the loss of shelf space against how much of the product will typically sell.
Accordingly, because of the risks involved and the sluggishness of sales, prices are typically raised to cover the slow turnover and the overall greater investment associated with distribution and storage.
Economy of scale is definitely a factor also: your average cow will produce over 10,000 liters of milk during a given lactation period, or a given goat will usually only produce a couple thousand liters.
This means you need many, many more goats to produce the same quantity of milk, regardless of its other advantages.
Considering you need a lot fewer cows to make a hell of a lot more product, and also the fact that cows typically produce a lot more milk over a longer period of their lives compared to goats, it is a lot easier to sell cow’s milk for cheaper and still reap good profits all along the chain.
You cannot say the same about goat milk. Lower and slower production and less net production over time means that it must, necessarily, be priced higher if producers, wholesalers, and retailers want to make a profit.
But, perhaps, in time we will see the climbing popularity of goat milk in the US reach critical mass at which time prices will likely come way down as infrastructure adapt to bring the popular new product to an ever greater number of consumers.
Can You Make Money Selling Goat Milk?
Of course, and people have been doing it for a long time.
However, before you want to get in on the gold rush of rising goat milk popularity, consider that you’ll likely have to invest in expensive milking machines, pasteurization equipment, storage equipment, and either provide or contract transportation for your milk to either get it directly to market, or to get it to a wholesaler.
This is a serious business decision that will entail major costs and investments if you want it to be sustainable and profitable.
However, depending on where you live and how restrictive local laws are,s you might be a lot better off selling directly to your community and nearby communities either straight from your property or from a farmer’s market or co-op.
For many dairy goat owners, this might be a far more attractive option. Just remember, violating laws concerning the sale and distribution of dairy products is a crime and can be a significant one, especially if your customers get sick from it!
How Much Does Goat Milk Cost in Canada?
Canada consumes significantly more goat milk than the United States. Understand that prices do vary significantly throughout the country, but a broad average is that goat milk cost anywhere from $6 to $11 Canadian per liter.
How Much Does Goat Milk Cost in the UK?
Goat milk is also pretty popular in the United Kingdom, though consumption is much higher or lower depending on the region as with Canada.
Comparing many major grocers in the UK, goat milk sells for anywhere from £2.15 to £3.50 per liter.
How Much Does Goat Milk Cost in Australia?
Goat milk is pretty pricey in the land down under. It retails for anywhere from $6 to $10 Australian per liter.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.