Italy surrendered to the Allies in World War II.
That historic world event took place in 1943 . . . 75 years ago . . . and that happens to be the last time total fluid milk sales in the U.S. were under 48.6 billion pounds of milk.
We’re getting close to that mark again, though. USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) reported that total fluid milk sales in 2017 were 48.629 billion pounds, compared to 47.8 billion pounds in 1943.
However, there is one big difference in those two data points — population.
In 1943, there were 137 million people in the U.S., leading to 371 pounds or 43.1 gallons of milk drank by every American.
These days, fluid milk consumption has plummeted to 149 pounds or 17.3 gallons per person.
From 1975 to 2015, total U.S. fluid milk sales have ranged from 53.309 billion pounds (1975) to 50.038 billion pounds (2015). The high watermark came in 2000 when dairy farmers and fluid milk processors sold 55.531 billion pounds, reported ERS.
It’s only been the two most recent years — 2016 and 2017 — that sales dropped below the 50 billion-pound threshold.