According to a recent national poll about milk and other beverages, consumers have a healthy view of whole and 2% milk products.
The survey, which interviewed 2,200 consumers, was conducted by Morning Consult for the International Dairy Foods Association.
When given the option to choose among whole, reduced fat 2%, low fat 1%, skim, other (almond, soy, oat, other plant-based, lactose-free), or “do not consume” milk, respondents chose 2% and whole milks because they believe they are most nutritious for themselves and their families.
Further, 86% of U.S. adults prefer dairy milk over “other” beverages, including plant-based beverages. Additionally, by a margin of more than 2 to 1, U.S. adults say it’s important to offer low-fat flavored milks with school meals. By a 3 to 1 margin, U.S. adults say it’s important to offer 2% and whole milk with school meals.
Other survey findings include:
Most nutritious. 67% of adults across key demographics believe 2% and whole milk are the most nutritious types of milk. Thirty-six percent of adults believe 2% milk is the most nutritious, while 31% believe whole milk is the most nutritious.
Preferences. At least 86% of adults prefer dairy milk compared to 10% who prefer “other” including plant-based beverages and lactose-free milk.
Flavored milk at school. Strong opinions about offering flavored milk in schools vastly outweigh strong opinions against. Half of the adults believe it is important that the public school their child attends offers low-fat flavored milk with school meals, while just 22% believe it is unimportant. Twenty-nine percent have no opinion.
Whole milk at school. Adults feel similarly about fuller-fat milk with school meals — by a 3 to 1 margin. Fifty-three percent say it’s important to offer 2% and whole milk with school meals, while 18% feel it is unimportant. Currently, only low fat 1% and skim milks are allowed in schools.
Gender difference. Overall, more women than men believe it is more important that their children have access to fuller-fat and flavored milks in school.
SNAP participants. Forty-two percent of SNAP participants prefer whole milk for themselves or their families. SNAP participants also report that they believe whole milk is the most nutritious (46%), the only demographic to do so. Of the 2,200 respondents, 336 self-identified as SNAP participants.
Income difference. Respondents with incomes under $50,000 (inclusive of 336 SNAP and 115 WIC participants, respectively, who self-identified) believe more strongly than those with higher incomes (above $50,000) that fuller-fat milks are most nutritious and prefer offering these options as well as low-fat flavored milks in schools for their children.
Variety is key. More than three-quarters (77%) of adults found it important to have a variety of options to choose from when purchasing types of milk.
Michael Dykes, president and CEO of IDFA, notes that it is important that policymakers and regulators who influence what Americans eat stay grounded in the reality of what families prefer and value.
“Clearly some policy decisions and discussions — especially those regarding school meals and nutrition programs — are completely out of step with consumer preference and habits, as well as sound dietary guidance,” he says. “Families recognize that milk provides numerous health benefits, including better bone health, helps to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and is the leading food source of calcium, vitamin D, and potassium in the diet of American children. The public’s opinion is clear. Will our policymakers now listen?”
The full survey is available online.