How Many Americans Think Chocolate Milk Comes From Brown Cows?

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According to a study completed by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy in 2017, seven percent of Americans think that brown cows produce chocolate milk. The study produced statistics which don’t exactly speak highly of our leagues of misinformed consumers.

At seven percent, across the board (if this survey is a representation of our nation), that means that 16.4 million people bought into the idea that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. It’s quite stunning to think that a group that size isn’t aware of what makes up this popular drink. This figure sadly illustrates those who are “agriculturally illiterate” according to those who have long worked in education, nutrition, and agriculture. People aren’t necessarily aware of where their food is grown or produced and how it finds its way to the stores where we purchase it.

How Many Americans Think Chocolate Milk Comes From Brown Cows?

Photo: Flickr/UpSticksNGo Crew

According to reports, the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy asked 1,000 adults (age 18 and over) what role milk played in their daily diet. 48% of the respondents had no clue where their chocolate milk was derived from, and the lesser figure of seven percent (thank goodness) truly believed that it only came from brown cows. Similar to studies done in the past which shone an unattractive light on the statistics for those who were food-aware, these findings mirror those done in the 1990s in which almost 20 percent of respondents didn’t know beef was the integral ingredient for hamburgers. The number of Americans who are surprisingly unaware of basic farming facts appears to remain consistent.

How Many Americans Think Chocolate Milk Comes From Brown Cows?

Photo: Facebook/TruMoo Chocolate Milk

When reached for comment by the Washington Post at the time, Cecily Upton, co-founder of FoodCorps, a non-profit that helps to incorporate nutrition and agricultural education into American elementary school curriculum, said, “At the end of the day, it’s an exposure issue.” She added, “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.” Although these statistics aren’t a blanket statement across the nation, it speaks to the fact that further work in food and farming education is required.