Apparently, Seven Percent of Americans think Chocolate Milk comes from Brown Cows.
A survey commissioned by the National Dairy Council has learned that a whopping 7% of Americans believe that chocolate-flavored milk comes from chocolate-colored cows. And no, they didn’t ask this of American children—the respondents were 100% adults.
If you do the math, that works out to 16.4 million misinformed, milk-drinking people. The equivalent of the population of Pennsylvania, does not know that chocolate milk is milk, cocoa and sugar.
In an article published in the Washington Post, the Edelman Intelligence Group conducted a survey for Dairy Management, Inc. and found that over 16 million people, when asked, did not know that chocolate milk is made up of milk, cocoa, and sugar.
For decades, observers in agriculture, nutrition and education have griped that many Americans are basically agriculturally illiterate. They don’t know where food is grown, how it gets to stores — or even, in the case of chocolate milk, what’s in it.
Got milk (knowledge)?
Embarrassing, definitely, but this stat highlights a bigger issue: more Americans are pretty illiterate when it comes to agricultural knowledge. A lot of us have no idea where our food comes from, or how it’s made.
And it’s not just choco milk: A study in the ‘90s found that 1 in 5 adults weren’t aware that hamburgers are made from beef. Many more lacked familiarity with basic farming facts, like how big U.S. farms typically are and what food animals eat.
Today, many Americans only experience food as an industrial product that doesn’t look much like the original animal or plant: The USDA says Orange “Juice” is the most popular “fruit” in America, and processed potatoes — in the form of french fries and chips — rank among the top vegetables.
Education is Key:
Aside from FoodCorps, which worked with slightly more than 100,000 students this year, groups like the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization and the American Farm Bureau Foundation are actively working with K-12 teachers across the country to add nutrition, farm technology and agricultural economics to lessons in social studies, science and health. The USDA Farm to School program, which awarded $5 million in grants for the 2017-2018 school year on Monday, also funds projects on agriculture education.
For National Dairy Month, which is June, NACO has been featuring a kindergarten-level lesson on dairy. Among its main takeaways: milk — plain, unflavored, boring white milk — comes from cows, not the grocery case.
Nutritionists and food-system reformers say these basic lessons are critical to raising kids who know how to eat healthfully — an important aid to tackling heart disease and obesity.
Meanwhile, farm groups argue the lack of basic food knowledge can lead to poor policy decisions.