If Not Brown Cows, Where Does Chocolate Milk Really Come From?

By now you have probably heard (even if you can’t believe it) that 7 % of American adults believe that chocolate milk comes from… brown cows.

A survey conducted by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy uncovered the fact that some Americans are pretty disconnected from how their food travels from the farm to their table. About half (48%) of 1,000 American adults polled in this recent survey didn’t know where chocolate milk comes from as Today.com reported. So we are going to help break it down.

Let’s bust this myth once and for all…

It should be sang from the rooftops that all dairy cows (regardless of color) produce the white milk that we know and love – nine essential nutrients and all. Chocolate milk is made by adding sugar and cocoa to white milk. Remember mixing up your own at home by adding a little chocolate syrup to your milk? A similar process happens when your favorite brands mix up their chocolate milk and sell it in stores.

While we aren’t sure where the myth originated, we think the misunderstanding about chocolate milk may be due to confusion over what a milk cow looks like in general. There are seven popular milk cow breeds in the United States. Holstein cows sport the classic black and white spots and make up about 90% of all dairy cows. Jersey, Guernseys, Ayrshires, Brown Swiss and Milking Shorthorns all have mostly brown markings, but they all produce white milk too.

With less than 2% of Americans connected to farming, we can understand why farm and food facts can get lost in translation. If you are looking for more answers on your most pressing dairy questions, continue exploring wadairy.org. Also be sure to check out the Facts and Myth section on DairyGood.org for common questions and answers.