Blog Post

What Do “Milk Solids” Mean on a Food Label? A Quick Summary

Milk Powder

Have you ever looked on a label and seen the term “milk solids” and wondered what it meant? And if whatever it meant was relevant for something that you might personally have an interest in? This post is designed to succinctly answer that.

What are Milk Solids?

Milk itself is made up of water (87%) and nutrients (fat, protein, sugar in the form of lactose, and minerals). The 13% that is not made from water is what would be considered milk solids.

Milk Solids Flow Chart

When reading a food label, milk solids refers to the powder that would be left after milk is dried out and the water is removed.

If you were to buy milk powder from the shops, this would be pretty much like buying “milk solids” in powder form.

Interpretations of Milk Solids

Milk solids can be a relatively broad term. It does not necessarily just mean full cream milk solids. It can be either full cream or skim milk solids.

Another beneficial definition to be aware of is that milk solids may be used to describe milk powder, skim milk powder, dried milk products AND any two or more of the following ingredients: whey, whey powder, whey proteins, lactose, caseinates, milk proteins and milk fat.

So this is interesting because the nutritional information could be completely different if say whey protein was added to a product within the milk solids, or extra sugar in the form of lactose was added.


Basically, milk solids are the parts of milk that remain after the water is removed. So if this was added to a product, it would be listed on a label as “milk solids.”

By Aidan Muir

Aidan is a Brisbane based dietitian who prides himself on staying up-to-date with evidence-based approaches to dietetic intervention. He has long been interested in all things nutrition, particularly the effects of different dietary approaches on body composition and sports performance. Due to this passion, he has built up an extensive knowledge base and experience in multiple areas of nutrition and is able to help clients with a variety of conditions. One of Aidan’s main strengths is his ability to adapt plans based on the client's desires. By having such a thorough understanding of optimal nutrition for different situations he is able to develop detailed meal plans and guidance for clients that can contribute to improving the clients overall quality of life and performance. He offers services both in-person and online.