Annual School Survey

Find the latest insights and trends about school milk in the Annual School Survey for 2012-2013. This report recaps key performance, process and activity measures in schools (K-12) throughout the continental United States.

AUTHOR: Prime Consulting Group

PUBLISH DATE: June 10, 2013



METHODOLOGY: Surveys are sent to all 16,000+ school districts and over 200 Processors. Respondent districts represent 16% of all students and respondent Processors serve 63% of all schools.

ABSTRACT: The objective of the survey is to develop a report recapping key performance, process and activity measures covering milk in K-12 schools throughout the continental United States. This project is designed to fulfill MilkPEP’s need for program measurement in the school channel, including per capita consumption projections. Individual geography recaps organized by Dairy Council boundaries are provided in a separate report.


1. Milk volume declined 5.1%, or 23 MM gallons. The decline is of significant concern and the result of a series of factors (headwinds)that compounded together:

  • Implementation of the new meal standards generated controversy, a 10% decline in paid meals and a 3% drop overall.
  • The new meal standards require a fruit or vegetable as part of every meal. As a result, processors report that many schools were required to “push” those items at the register to complete meals for reimbursement. Previously, milk was the “push” item.
  • A number of districts have begun merchandising water next to milk more often and appear happy financially with that substitution as long as the meal qualifies for reimbursement.
  • Slowing of breakfast participation growth (smaller increase than in recent years).
  • Reduced programming supporting milk consumption in schools.
  • Continued, though reduced, efforts to curtail milk flavors.
  • Remaining conversion of flavored milk to fat free, further widening the taste gap between school and retail chocolate milk.
  • Together, these factors caused sizeable declines in milk volume across three-fourths of the Dairy Council areas, and a similar portion of processors.

2. Schools and processors are realizing 58% of current potential. Potential is defined as ‘a milk with every meal’ (measured as 5 lunches plus current breakfast participation). Milk potential stands at 6.34 milks per student each week (5 lunches plus 26.8% x 5 breakfasts). Actual usage is 3.69 milks per student each week.

  • Elementary Schools ........70% of potential being realized
  • Secondary Schools ..........49%
  • Reported in Total ............47% (38% of responder enrollment)

3. Flavor mix saw several changes this year. White milk grew 8.1 MM gallons to now represent 35.3% of school milk according to the processor sample.

  • All flavors must now be fat free per the new meal standards. Chocolate declined 25 MM gallons (-9.0%). The chocolate flavor fell to 59.1% of all school milk (-2.5 points).
  • Strawberry and other flavors declined from 6.7% to 5.6% of sales. The declining availability of strawberry was responsible for losing nearly 5 MM gallons.
  • Vanilla, while the third most frequent flavor, was only available in 7.6% of districts. These flavors declined 32% to 3.4 MM gallons.