A surprising number of American adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows

Seven per cent of all American adults — roughly 16.4 million people — do not know that chocolate milk is made of milk, cocoa, and sugar, according to a new nationally representative survey by the Innovation Center for US Dairy.

Instead, they reported it comes from brown cows.

The organisation surveyed 1,000 adults in all 50 states about their use and knowledge of dairy products. Forty-eight per cent of respondents also didn’t know how chocolate milk is made.

The percentage of misinformed adults about chocolate milk may seen high, but as The Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey notes, it may be more surprising that this figure is not higher. Many Americans are essentially agriculturally illiterate, especially if they do not grow up in agricultural communities. They might not understand how food is grown and what it takes to get to grocery stores.

The way that most agricultural products today are marketed to shoppers doesn’t help either. In the grocery store, meat, dairy, greens, and grains are usually packaged in plastic wrap, cartons, and boxes. It doesn’t look much like the original plant or animal.

Unless consumers Google the information or learn it in a classroom, it can be easy to disassociate between the milk in their glasses and the cows it took to produce it.

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