Too many Americans think chocolate milk actually comes from brown cows


Today in depressing food news: 7 percent of all Americans truly believe that chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

No, this is not a joke article from The Onion. Millions of Americans are really that confused about what makes chocolate milk, well…chocolate.

The data comes from an online survey commissioned by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy. And, The Washington Post notes, “if you do the math, that works out to 16.4 million misinformed, milk-drinking people.” That’s a lot of people who don’t understand what chocolate milk is made out of.

The Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy surveyed more than 1,000 adults about their milk-drinking and dairy-related habits, and the results were pretty stunning. As depressing as this how-now-brown-cow business is, 48 percent of survey respondents said they weren’t even sure where the chocolate milk came from to begin with!


“At the end of the day, it’s an exposure issue,” said Cecily Upton, co-founder of the nonprofit FoodCorps, which brings agricultural and nutrition education to elementary schools. “Right now, we’re conditioned to think that if you need food, you go to the store. Nothing in our educational framework teaches kids where food comes from before that point.”

brown cow photo
Flickr | alex_ford

Although this data seems sort of funny, many professionals in the food industry are sincerely worried about what this says about food knowledge in America. Upton told The Washington Post that everyone in America would be better off with a deeper understanding of agriculture.

“We still get kids who are surprised that a french fry comes from a potato, or that a pickle is a cucumber,” she told the Post. “Knowledge is power. Without it, we can’t make informed decisions.”


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About the Author
Jessica Suss
Current high-school English teacher, native Chicagoan, and nut butter enthusiast moonlighting as a writer.

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