WASHINGTON – Highlighting dairy’s role in school meals, the International Dairy Foods Association shared that a recent survey found 92% of voters with children in public schools think that providing milk to students is important for children’s daily nutritional intake.

Data from the national tracking poll, conducted by Morning Consult, also showed that 91% of those parents think making sure school meals are healthy and nutritious for children in their community should be prioritized. Within that group, 62% of parents who participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) said it should be a top priority.

Commissioned by the IDFA, the survey found 84% of parents, upon receiving messaging about nutritional and health benefits of milk, supported low-fat flavored milk being an option in public school meals, as well.

With National School Lunch Week (Oct. 10-14) as a backdrop, IDFA president and chief executive officer Michael Dykes called school meals “the bedrock of nutrition security” for children, especially among families in need.

“This polling underscores that parents understand the importance of school meals, that they believe healthy school meals should be a priority for policymakers and that they understand the important role dairy products like milk play in ensuring their children receive the nutrients they need for growth, development, healthy immune function and overall wellness,” Dykes said.

The IDFA is advocating for US policymakers to boost dairy consumption among children through school meals.

“It is absolutely critical at this time for policymakers, school nutrition officials, food makers and parents to come together to find ways to improve nutrition security for our youth,” Dykes said. “Nutritious dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese play a pivotal role in providing children with an excellent source of 13 essential nutrients, including three of the four nutrients identified as dietary components of public health concern in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, yet the DGA indicates dairy is underconsumed by American children.”

Conducted online between Sept. 1-6, the poll had a sample of 1,666 registered voters with children in public schools, and 709 of them participate in at least one federal nutrition feeding program.

More results from the survey can be found online at the IDFA website.