REDMOND, OR -- Students in Redmond schools have taken notice of a change, this year: Chocolate milk is no longer a lunchroom staple. "We used to have chocolate milk everyday for lunch; we went through a lot of it, obviously," says Keith Fiedler, head of Redmond School District Nutrition Services. "But, you know, we don’t really need chocolate milk to sell our program. We still have it once a week, and I look forward to it every Friday and enjoy it. But, we didn’t need that to bring them into our program."
Fiedler tells KBND News Redmond-area cafeterias are now preparing better food, and no longer need to use the treat everyday to entice kids. "And that’s been proven since we’ve gone to [providing chocolate milk] just once a week. We haven’t seen any reduction in students’ participation; in fact, it’s still increasing." He says students now enjoy more variety in the lunch line, with many meals prepared using local ingredients.
The district also began using a new milk provider this year; however, Fiedler says, "The biggest difference in the taste was it wasn’t chocolate anymore. But, of course, every brand of milk is going to have a slightly different flavor. People grew up with Eberhard’s here, so they did notice that it’s different. Of course, often the biggest difference in taste is the temperature." He says the district looked into all comments and complaints over the taste of the milk and discovered some schools didn’t have refrigerators set for the optimal temperature. That has since been corrected. According to Fiedler, the change in brands was due to cost. And, limiting chocolate milk is an effort to improve the overall nutritional content of school lunches.