Yogurt sales continue to grow but at a slower pace, according to the latest data, and there's more evidence that flavored milk is in a slump. Flavored milk sales shrunk during the last three quarters, perhaps for the first time in years.

Among the top 10 brands of yogurt and yogurt drinks there is a mixed bag of winners and losers. Some brands are down by a small to moderate percentage, while most show some decent growth. Stonyfield Farms is growing like gangbusters, perhaps thanks in part to the acquisition of Brown Cow.

Looking at the total category line, sales for the 52 weeks leading up to March 21 were up 2.7% by volume and 3.6% by unit, not nearly as spectacular as the near double-digit growth of each year from 2000 to 2002.

These figures, from Information Resources Inc., represent supermarkets, mass merchandisers and drug stores, but do not include Wal-Mart. In addition, you may notice a change from past installments of Dairy Market Trends. There are no dollar sales given, but for now and for at least some time in the future, IRI will provide us with volume sales and unit sales.

The bad news continues in the flavored milk arena. Since February we've seen this vibrant category losing steam. There's no denying it now-sales of flavored milk are down and dropping faster in each of the three most recent reporting periods. Most significantly, they dropped 6.7% by unit in the 12 weeks before March 21.

Keep in mind that there is a lot of single serve, flavored milk sold in channels that don't show up in the data. And let's not get too discouraged-after all, cheese slowed a year ago and then caught fire again.

Meanwhile, ice cream sales have slipped a bit for the whole category, while the top brands jockey for position. Like yogurt, some are up and some are down.

Finally, we turn our attention to the sometimes overlooked category of butter. Surprisingly, sales are down here too, at least for the last three reporting periods. But for the year it's just a 1% drop. Although it has no carbs, and little trans fat, butter is a somewhat seasonal and price-driven product.