In 2019, New England Dairy funded 77 schools with grants to start hot chocolate milk programs. This has been a helpful way to take advantage of the USDA flexibility that allows schools to serve 1% flavored milk. Grant funding supports one to two machines to heat and serve chocolate milk as well as marketing supporting, including signage. Preliminary data from 22 of the granted schools shows an increase of 13 percent in milk sales.
On January 31, we celebrated National Hot Chocolate Day in two New England schools. Students at Williston Central School in Williston, VT and Rockville High School in Vernon, CT enjoyed hot chocolate milk for breakfast and dairy trivia hosted by their local dairy farmers (Ned Ellis from Hebron, CT, and Alison Conant from Richmond, VT).