Study finds flavored milk is key for at-school consumption

ATLANTA—A recent study conducted in 58 schools nationwide found that children choose flavored milk over unflavored milk nearly 70 percent of the time. And when flavored milk was not an option, milk consumption dropped.

The Milk Processor Education Program of the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association Inc. found that, when flavored milk was removed from a school or its availability was limited, many students tended not to switch to regular milk and stopped drinking milk altogether. Milk consumption dropped an average of 35 percent, and two school districts found that milk consumption dropped by an average of 43 percent when only regular milk was available.

Milk consumption did not rebound even after a year; 40 schools in their second year of limited or no flavored milk still did not see students switching to regular milk.

"Hopefully, school systems and parents will use information like this when making decisions about the kinds of milk they make available to students," said Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. "Flavored milk is still milk, with all the nutritional benefits of regular milk, and milk is still among the most nutrient-dense food items available to children in schools.

"Even milk that has additional sugar because it is flavored can be a healthier beverage choice than sodas and some fruit drinks."

Contact Banks at 804-290-1114.

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