Increase Milk Consumption at Your School With 1% Flavored Milk
Well-nourished students are the top priority for school nutrition programs – and serving 1% flavored milk is an easy way to help districts accomplish this goal. According to National Dairy Council (NDC), many schools have already seen increases in average daily participation (ADP) by reintroducing 1% flavored milk to their menus. Since ADP is such an important indicator of a program’s success, how can nutrition directors use 1% flavored to increase consumption in their districts?
While interviewing the school nutrition directors in Texas (Aldine ISD and Irving ISD), I gained some insight into this question. In both cases, the directors talked about listening to their customers – conducting milk taste tests and informal focus groups about milk quality, and monitoring milk sales – and responding to their needs. For their student customers, the reintroduction of 1% flavored milk was an example of excellent customer service, giving them one more reason to enjoy school meals on a regular basis.
For Dani Sheffield, executive director of child nutrition services for Aldine ISD, this type of customer service was a large part of why they added 1% flavored milk back to their menus. “We want to have a culture of food and service in our department,” Sheffield said. “We saw an increase in purchase of chocolate milk over a previous year, so we knew that our idea of providing the 1% chocolate milk was revealing quality to our students.”
Olga Rosenberger, director of food and nutrition services for Irving ISD, agrees. Before deciding to switch to 1% flavored milk, Rosenberger took the time to listen to student feedback and watch what menu items they were, and weren’t, consuming. “It’s not nutrition unless the student consumes it,” Rosenberger said. “That’s one of the reasons why we decided to move to 1% flavored milk. It went a long way to show our customers that we really do care and that we listen.”
These successes have also been demonstrated in findings from the NDC’s survey of 317 schools in eight states that implemented 1% flavored milk during the 2017-2018 school year. The survey data showed that:
- Over half of the schools saw increases in milk sales
- 1% flavored milk was easy to accommodate within calorie maximums
- It was easy to include the cost of 1% flavored within financial bottom lines
- In approximately two-thirds of the schools, students liked 1% flavored milk better
- Nearly one-third of the schools saw an increase in ADP in meals, resulting in federal reimbursements
Want to reap the benefits of increased milk consumption and meal participation in your schools? Get more information about 1% flavored milk and how to add it to your processor bid by contacting your Dairy MAX School Wellness Consultant or visiting dairymax.org/school/flavored-milk.