Dean Foods may have hit an in-the-park home run with its new TruMoo flavored milk.
This new version of chocolate milk contains only 130 calories and 10 g of added sugar per 8 oz. serving. That meets the industry target of good-tasting flavored milks that contain no more than 150 calories and less than 25 g of added sugar per serving. Traditional formulations contain high-fructose corn syrup, up to 180 calories and 16 g of added sugar.
With Dean Foods’ national reach, TruMoo will be offered by 31 brands.
"Most nutritionists will view TruMoo as a positive step forward," says Greg Miller, president of the Dairy Research Institute, which is affiliated with Dairy Management Inc. and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. "The diehards who base their opposition on emotion rather than science will still want all or nothing."
Dean Foods’ announcement, made just as schools were reopening for classes, was desperately needed. Last spring, Minneapolis banned high-calorie flavored milks from its 72 schools, depriving 34,500 students of flavored milk. In June, the Los Angeles Unified School District followed suit. The district serves 650,000 meals each school day.
The trouble is that when flavored milk is not offered, milk consumption drops precipitously. A 2009 study involving 58 elementary and secondary schools saw milk consumption drop by 35%. In the primary grades, milk consumption dropped by more than 60%.
The irony is that even with the traditional, higher-calorie flavored milk, kids get only 3% of their added sugar from flavored milk, Miller says. They get 50% of their added sugar from soda and candy. When you take the milk away, kids lose out on the nine essential nutrients that go with it.
Getting flavored milk back into schools isn’t an automatic out-of-the-park home run, of course. Dean Foods and school milk proponents will have to hustle to convince school districts to bring flavored milk back. But TruMoo is an excellent at bat that keeps milk in the game.