Though it’s unclear whether or not dairy is actually bad for you, milk has seen a notable decline in popularity over the last few years. This is thanks in large part to some aforementioned hemming and hawing over cow’s milk’s benefits (and ethics), along with the proliferation of non-cow’s milk, most of which are quite good, some of which seem like a real reach. Whatever the case, Big Milk is finally feeling the squeeze.
The New York Times reports that on Tuesday, Dean Foods, the nation’s largest milk producer, filed for bankruptcy protection. The company puts out products from the likes of Dairy Pure, Organic Valley, Lehigh Valley, and Land O’Lakes, and has reportedly seen declining profits over the last few years as almond, oat, and cashew milks started popping up at food and coffee establishments all over the country.
Americans are drinking 37 percent less milk now than they were 50 years ago, and the decline is noticeable. “Long ago, the public figured out that diets do just fine without milk and no, we don’t have to drink three glasses a day,” Marion Nestle, a food studies professor at New York University, told the New York Times. “Maybe plant-based milks are the coup de grâce, but this industry just can’t seem to keep up with changing tastes.”
Not that I’m cheering workers losing their jobs—Dean Foods shuttered a number of factories over the last few years, and bankruptcy filings tend to predict more layoffs—but I do feel compelled to point out that milk sucks. I’m sure for some people it’s perfectly fine, but for those of us for whom mere drops of milk turn our intestines into knife-stabbing knots, the decline of cow’s milk and rise of far less painful coffee lighteners is an absolute joy.
In general, milk is bad—it tastes bad, it smells bad, and it goes bad easily. There’s a reason white nationalists made milk their mascot (purity, I guess, but also because it sucks, and so do they). Cheese is at least tasty. Ice cream is the shit, even though it seems poised to kill me. Yogurt is questionable, but I respect other people’s right to enjoy it. But milk is the kind of thing parents (hi Mom!) foist on their unsuspecting children, poisoning their insides and turning the trip to school into a real fucking nightmare. My family didn’t know about lactose intolerance in the early ‘90s, in fairness, but I’m still mad.
I have a personal vendetta against milk, but even humans who can handle dairy don’t care for it. “One of the first things you realize as an adult is that no one but sociopaths drink milk after the age of 13,” Gizmodo staffer Tom McKay told me, adding “You can quote me on this.”
Down with milk! But let’s find any jettisoned Dean Foods workers some jobs.
Clarification 11/15/19: Though Organic Valley has a joint venture with Dean Foods, they are an independent farmer-owned cooperative, and not owned by the company. They are not affected by the bankruptcy protection filing.