Searches Complicated by Modern Milk Variety
Remember those days where you would sit down for breakfast with a hearty bowl of cereal and pull out a carton of milk only to be greeted by the smiling face of a missing child who looked about the same age as you? Refreshing, right? Well, now it’s all making a comeback.
As Americans become increasingly nostalgic for the ‘80s, repopularizing vinyl records and binge-watching “Stranger Things,” bringing back missing children on milk cartons seemed like the logical next step. At first, dairy companies were all too eager to hop onto this next cash-grabbing adventure, but now many are realizing that revitalizing the trend isn’t so easy in the modern age.
The principal problem is there are too many types of milk on the market. Nowadays, consumers have so many daily dairy options to choose from that any effort to raise awareness about missing children has become significantly diluted.
Just last week, a young Timothy Anderson went missing in Texas but his disappearance went largely unnoticed after his face was relegated to the back of oat milk cartons.
His mother was in tears when we interviewed her, but mostly because she had just forced herself to drink one of the dozen oat milk cartons she bought to remind her of her son.
“My boy is missing and nobody even knows because who in their right mind would buy oat milk of all things?” she cried.
Similar milk substitutes have proven to be problematic. One mother named Karen expressed outrage when her missing daughter’s face was put on a carton of almond milk, even though her daughter had severe peanut allergies.
“Do they think this is a joke?” she exclaimed. “My daughter has probably been brutally kidnapped but now every time I think of her I just imagine her breaking out in hives all over the place.”
A few days later, it was discovered that the daughter had simply run away from home to escape her overbearing mother.
The problem is further complicated by the fact that the upper-class is using their wealth and influence to get their missing children’s faces on the most popular types of milk, namely the 1%. Some people decided to boycott this type of milk in protest leaving supermarkets with gallons of what they called “spoiled” milk.
Dairy companies have also found that people have much shorter attention spans than they did in the ‘80s. Now, no one seems to have the time or care to read about missing children on milk cartons. One company is hoping to change that by writing shorter bio’s about the missing children, which they are calling, “Condensed Milk.”
Another trend that didn’t exist in the ‘80s is cereal milk, which is milk infused with the flavors of your favorite breakfast cereals. Unfortunately, serial killers were quick to pounce on this newfound branding opportunity, pasting magazine letter cutouts on many of the bottles and taunting victim’s families with notes like “I’m in a bad MOOOOOd” and “Milking this for all it’s worth.”
Critics of the dairy companies’ controversial milk carton revival have called their efforts “rancid” and “udderly awful.”
The only person who seems to be benefiting from this is Caroline B. Cooney, author of the book “Face on the Milk Carton” which some readers might remember from middle school English class. In a recent interview, Cooney said she was “brimming” with new ideas for a sequel.
In light of all the controversy, it seems like the trend will be relatively short-lived. Supermarkets have already announced that they plan to shelf the idea in the coming weeks, putting it right alongside evaporated milk.
Ryan Bieber is a third-year journalism major who has begun brewing his own milk for promotional reasons. You can reach them at email@example.com.
Art by Carolyn Langer.