Supporters of flavored milk point out that all milk has health benefits. It contains nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, and potassium. These boost the immune system, build strong bones, and more.
Some people worry that kids won’t get these nutrients if they don’t like the taste of plain milk. A study by the Journal of Dairy Science showed that the amount of milk kids drink has been decreasing for decades. Those in favor of flavored milk argue that it gets more kids to drink milk.
In some schools, banning flavored milk created a new problem: food waste. In 2011, public schools in Los Angeles, California, stopped serving chocolate milk. About 236 gallons of plain milk went to waste every week. That waste was reduced by 75 percent after the district brought back chocolate milk in 2016.
Sarah Messley is the principal at Anderson Elementary. She’s also noticed a difference.
“We rarely have any strawberry milk or chocolate milk left over,” says Messley. “A lot less milk gets thrown away on days when strawberry milk is available.”