Those who read yesterday's post, "Moo Juice in America," may recall my report that the Department of Agriculture thinks we all are falling down on the job of milk consumption. This sounded strange to me, and so I decided to do some shoe-leather research.
Last week, I took a notebook to my local grocery store and totted up what was on offer in the milk department. I thought this would take about 10 minutes, but in fact I spent the better part of an hour on the project.
Below is a catalog of what I found. I do not expect any of my readers to canvass the whole list, only to take in its variety and quantity:
Whole milk in pints, quarts, half-gallons and gallons
2% milk in pints, quarts, half-gallons and gallons
1% milk milk in quarts and half-gallons
Three brands of 2% chocolate milk in single servings, quarts and half-gallons
Three brands of 1% chocolate milk in single servings, quarts and half-gallons
Organic DHA Omega 3 nonfat milk in half-gallons
Organic DHA Omega 3 1% milk in half-gallons
Organic DHA Omega 3 2% milk in half-gallons
Organic DHA Omega 3 whole milk in half-gallons
Skim Plus nonfat milk in quarts and half-gallons
Skim Plus nonfat lactose-free milk in half-gallons
Skim Plus chocolate milk in quarts and half-gallons
Nonfat milk in quarts and half gallons
Two brands of buttermilk in quarts
Several branded milks in quarts and half-gallons
Two brands of lactose-free milk in quarts and half-gallons
Two brands of lactose-free chocolate milk in half-gallons
Low-fat soy milk in quarts and half-gallons
Regular soy milk in quarts and half-gallons
Low-fat vanilla soy milk in quarts and half-gallons
Regular vanilla soy milk in quarts and half-gallons
Low-fat almond milk in half-gallons
Regular almond milk in half-gallons
Dark chocolate almond milk in half-gallons
Vanilla almond milk in half-gallons
Unsweeetened vanilla almond milk in half-gallons
Light almond milk in half-gallons
Almond Breeze soy-free milk in half-gallons
Almond coconut milk in half-gallons
Almond Breeze milk in gallons
Almond Breeze vanilla milk in gallons.
Rice Dream milk in half-gallons
I cannot swear that this is a complete list, but I believe it is a pretty close approximation.
But that was not the end of it.
After my survey above, I looked around the corner and -- egads! -- discovered another full display, about half the size of the one I had just studied. This one contained only organic milk. Organic cow's milk, organic Omega 3 milk, organic lactose-free milk and organic soy milk, all in various sizes, fat levels, flavors and brands.
At this point, I gave up. It was TMI, and my writing hand was getting stiff.
I mean, really. I had set out to do a casual tally, not to conduct research for a master's degree thesis.
While I was making my list, I observed that one store employee was working full-time to keep the milk department stocked. This was just the milk department -- no half-and-half, light cream, full cream, whipping cream, no cottage cheese or sour cream or ricotta or butter. Just milk.
My supermarket is not a fancy one (no goat milk, for instance), but it offered an amazing range and volume of milk products. It is true that some of those products come from soy, almonds and rice, but those seem to advertise protein and calcium contents that equal or better those of dairy milk.
And all the products seem to be flying off the shelves.
Still, the government thinks we need to drink at least three times more milk than we consume today.
I shudder to think how much more space the supermarket have to devote to milk if the American population had a sudden change of heart and decided to follow the USDA dietary advice.
And if such a change does occur, I'm not volunteering to assess the contents of the milk department.