Looking more broadly than milk in a glass, per-capita dairy consumption has been on the rise since the 1970s, according to USDA data. Last year’s level – 646 pounds per
person – was the most popular year for dairy in the U.S. since 1962.
Individual products tell similar stories. Cheese per-capita consumption has tripled since 1971. Butter is at its highest per-capita use since 1968. Contrast that with nose-diving sales of margarine, the longest-established “plant-based” dairy alternative, which in 2010 was at its lowest per-capita consumption since 1942. After that, the federal government stopped tracking it altogether.