Making Cold Milk Cool: Reaching Youth Through Relevant Programming

When it is time to choose what to eat and drink, there are never-ending options. While we prefer to drink milk, there are plenty more options, like energy drinks, sodas, juices, and drinks so new that they don’t quite have a category yet. And we haven’t discussed what to eat yet! 

There is also a lot of information out there–and misinformation, too. Comments online make health claims that contradict one another. With long-term exposure to comments like these, we begin to believe the claims, even if it limits mealtimes options by entire categories

With endless options and misinformation, the dairy checkoff has evolved how it shares dairy’s goodness with audiences, especially kids. Today’s kids are practically born with access to the biggest information source of them all, the internet. That means that checkoff groups like The Dairy Alliance need to create messaging sharing the truth about dairy farming and nutrition for this young audience that is relevant and timely. In addition to sharing information via social media, The Dairy Alliance also reaches children at another place: school. 

Between classes and extracurriculars, children spend most of their weekdays at school. Sharing the importance of dairy with students in the cafeteria and classroom is a huge focus of new programs.  

When COVID-19 shut down schools and in-person learning, checkoff adapted. Virtual Farm Tours were created so students could take a virtual field trip to a dairy farm, but their popularity has expanded the program to be a regular offering. During the 21-22 school year, over 46,000 students viewed the live tours. Through these tours, students can interact with the farmer and ask questions about the operation, building a connection for students about where the foods they eat originate. Even further, these tours highlight that dairy products are produced and handled through safe and sustainable practices, with students having a stronger trust in the dairy industry following the tour. 

But milk must evolve to kids’ changing tastes, too. 

The milk offered in cafeterias must be appealing in both taste and in the benefits it provides to those who consume it. 

The Dairy Alliance assists school nutrition and cafeteria staff in obtaining equipment to serve milk in exciting forms. The cafeteria provides students with nutritious meals that fuel them during a day of learning, so it should also be a place students are excited to go to.  

And students are becoming milk fans through these new programs. 

With coffee shops serving flavorful beverages, the Moo Brew program expands this offering to students in middle schools and high schools. School Moo Brew programs serve iced coffee made with real milk. Students get to choose what flavors are added to their 2 oz of coffee and 8 oz of milk, allowing for customization. 

But that is just one of the programs! Students can also enjoy smoothies or ice-cold milk from a dispenser to a glass, not a carton. Cafeterias across the Southeast showcases dairy’s versatility and benefits in exciting ways for students.  

And for student-athletes, a pilot program in Virginia is sharing the importance of chocolate milk with high school students. Chocolate milk has a 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio to refuel muscles, as well as vitamins and minerals to help build and maintain strong bones, essential in reducing the risk for stress fractures.   

Through the many meal options available, The Dairy Alliance is providing nutritious and appealing options to today’s youth to help build healthy habits. 

To learn more about The Dairy Alliance’s school offerings, visit our Dairy in Schools page

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