One of my pleasures in life is occasionally going to a favorite restaurant to eat. I don't have to cook or wash dishes and I am not eating the same thing for three days. (I have trouble cooking small amounts)! Recently after a trip to town to run errands, pick up prescriptions, and purchase groceries, my granddaughter and I stopped for lunch. As I sat and enjoyed my food, it was interesting to observe people dining at other tables. It is a very rare occasion when you see anyone drinking milk.
The young couple with two young school age children gave the waitress their drink order --- Mountain Dew, iced tea, and Pepsi. The word "milk" was never mentioned. An elderly couple came in and sat down beside us. I know them and they go to the restaurant for a meal just about every day. They are both in their 80s and have health problems. I have no doubt that their doctor encourages them to eat healthy. When the waitress brought their drinks it was two large glasses of Pepsi. The restaurant was filled with people and I never saw a glass of milk delivered by the waitress. And I have to admit, I wasn't drinking milk either! My choice is always water and once in a while a cup of coffee. I think we are going to have to accept the fact that people who eat out are seldom going to drink milk.
I doubt the local pizza parlors would have milk if someone even asked for it. When did you ever see anyone drink milk when eating pasta at their favorite Italian restaurant? How much milk do the local fast food restaurants sell with their sandwiches and meals? I don't remember seeing milk as an option in those self-serve drink machines. Go to a fancy restaurant and the choice is usually wine, beer or coffee. When I walk into my local grocery store and start out with my cart the first thing I see is the huge pile of the brand of soft drink that is on sale. And that is usually the first thing you see people put in their carts! Milk is located far back in the store.
I recently read articles blaming the low price for milk and the plight of the dairy farmer on the consumption of milk. It was suggested that we need to find ways to encourage the consumer to use and buy more milk. So where do we find those consumers who will use more milk? The only time the milk shelves at the local grocery store are ever empty is in times of crisis -- storms, floods, ice, snow etc. Telling people milk is good for them just doesn't help. They would probably drink more if they thought it was bad for them or against the law!
Milk at hospitals and rest homes is usually in cardboard containers, often served warm and you usually have to ask for it. The children in school often don't drink milk for those same reasons. Milk used to be a common staple for breakfast, to drink or put on cereal. Today people often do not take time for breakfast or if they do, it is a micro-waved breakfast sandwich or a toaster pastry grabbed quickly on their way out! Many other daily meals are eaten in fast-food restaurants. We are constantly being told that milk consumption is declining. It is my opinion that we cannot rely on the consumer to solve the dairy farmer's problems--it isn't going to happen. Dairy farmers must find the answers within themselves.