Marley Schultz is a Gary Marx Journalism Fund fellow.

For some Americans, milk has been a traditional staple in cereal, coffee, or even straight out of the carton.

But U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows its significance in the American diet is at its lowest point in five decades.

This decrease could be attributed to a variety of factors, including generational changes, environmental impact of dairies and the increased popularity of non-dairy alternatives such as almond and oat milk, according to some research.

That said, cow’s milk still stocks many fridges, even as prices rise, with 2% and whole milk accounting for about 70% of conventional milk sales in 2020.

The average price for a gallon of milk in the 1970s was just over $1.50, but prices now sit around $4.

Top image: Cows at a large Wisconsin dairy farm. photo by Kate Golden, Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

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