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Study: In absence of flavored milk, students drink less milk

economic-forecast-headerNewly released findings from a study by the National Dairy Council suggests that the elimination of flavored milk in school systems results in students drinking less milk. Additionally, food costs increased as school systems tried to replace the nutrients found in a glass of milk.

The study was conducted in response to many schools choosing to eliminate flavored milk from their menus. School administrators’ intent was to reduce sugar consumption; flavored milks often contain sugars and artificial sweeteners.

“Some compare it to diet soda because of the artificial sweetener, but soda doesn’t have any of the nutrients milk has,” said Matt Nuckols, a Hanover County dairy farmer.

The study found the elimination of flavored milk decreased overall milk sales and increased the amount of milk children discarded. The overall decrease in milk consumption was 37.4 percent. Students 9 to 18 years of age consumed 1.4 fewer servings of milk per week.

The study indicated that school systems would have to add several food options to their menus to replace the nutrients in milk, boosting food costs by $2,200 to $4,600 per 100 students annually.

“With all of the nutrients in milk, you can’t really replace it with another food source,” Nuckols said.

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