It cannot be denied that people across the planet enjoy dairy products. The United States fits right in with that. Every year, the country puts out more than 206 million pounds of milk. This goes into small steel barrels and is made into a variety of products such as cheese, ice cream, and of course, put directly into storage units to be sent around as plain milk. Here are some things you may not know about the beverage:
Milk products that are “au natural” were not always favored. In today’s world, consumers are looking more and more for ways to “get back to nature.” That means they want raw milk (this has seen a rise in popularity recently) and other options that are as close to what you would get in small steel barrels on the farm as possible. That was not always true. In the early 1900s, people wanted exactly the opposite. At the time, health experts and agencies wanted the milk people consumed to be as “pure” as possible and that meant it had been treated to remove any bacteria or other contaminants. Before the widespread use of refrigeration, milk was always safe when it reached people’s tables.
Butter surpassed milk as the most consumed dairy product in the 1920s. During this time, people in the United States still drank their fair share of the beverage but they started using butter with most of their meals. From breakfast to dinner, butter was the accompaniment for everything. The only thing that could break the spell butter had cast over the nation was war. With rationing in place during World War II, people turned to margarine. The problem was that this product was taxed on the federal level. This tax was finally killed in the 1950s, due mostly to pressure from people who wanted the butter alternative.
Skim milk was not always viewed as being healthy. “Back in the day,” people did not have the same view of milk fat as they do now. When it was first introduced it was not put in small steel barrels and sent to people to drink, it was used more for livestock than anything. There were no diets promoting getting less fat in the diet. It was not until the 1950s when research showed the link between a high-fat diet and heart disease the people began drinking skim milk.
Does anyone not love ice cream? The American love affair with ice cream and other frozen treats goes back a long way. George Washington has been said to love it and consumed it often at Mount Vernon. Back then, ice cream was a treat reserved for the wealthiest people as it was hard to make and hard to keep. It has been reported that the treat hit its height in popularity in 1946, people could not keep it at home then but they went out to indulge. In the 1950s, Americans were buying home freezers, which allowed easy storage of ice cream and this just pushed the dessert only grew is popularity. Today, ice cream is just one of the many frozen treats people can enjoy.
Everything old is new again. It could be because we have better ways to make milk safe. By the time it reaches the small steel drums, it has been treated to be healthy. American consumers started looking for “organic” products in the 1990s. The environmental movement from the 1960s made more people aware of the problems using pesticides and how they could pose health dangers. The movement to have more organic milk and dairy products was pushed along further by veterinarians and makers of cheese, who opposed the use of antibiotics in cows who produced milk. Today, consumers have a lot of options when it comes to getting milk and dairy products that are free of antibiotics and pesticides.
Milk is important for a lot of cuisines and tastes. Millions of people wake up every morning to their coffee with milk, cream, or some other dairy product. Butter is considered a must for a host of recipes. It is hard to say what comes next but milk will be there. Whether you get it in small steel barrels or cartons, it will be with us forever.