No, Chocolate Milk Does Not Come from Brown Cows

published Jun 6, 2017
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Do you know where chocolate milk comes from? The seemingly insulting question is a valid query, as a good chunk of people are supposedly in the dark about where chocolate milk is sourced from. (Spoiler alert: It’s not brown cows.)

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy‘s Undeniably Dairy, a group representing family dairy farmers, conducted a survey on a thousand participants to explore dairy consumption habits and beliefs. One of their findings was that 37 percent of those surveyed said they secretly drink it directly from the carton. Another finding? Some believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

The survey, conducted in April, found that a small but still surprisingly high portion of respondents (7 percent of those surveyed) believed chocolate-flavored milk come from brown cows. Meanwhile, 48 percent responded that they didn’t know the answer.

If you fall in either category, here’s a brief rundown on milk and how it works: Mammals are a class of vertebrates characterized by milk-producing mammary glands. Cows (which are mammals) of all shapes, sizes, and colors produce milk. As do goats and sheep. No bovine, to date, has naturally or artificially produced chocolate milk.

What we recognize as chocolate milk (both in the sweet flavor and in brown color) is created by adding the likes of cocoa powder or syrup. Same for strawberry and any other milk flavors.

What’s the source of this discrepancy? As Refinery29 points out, some of the misconception can be attributed to marketing and movies. Older Hershey’s chocolate milk commercials featured brown cows producing chocolate milk and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also featured chocolate milk cows. Additionally, Farmville showcases something similar.

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