'Moo Brew' coffee program is a creative way to get students to drink more milk

Instead of reaching for an ice-cold cup of milk, more teenagers are giving the beverage the cold shoulder -- and Florida's dairy farmers aren't going down without a fight.   

The Association of Florida Dairy Farmers created Moo Brew, a milk-based coffee bar available to high schools around the state. The goal is to promote milk consumption among teens. There is one at Largo High School.

"We do look at consumption per district, so that’s where we offer support if we see consumption decreasing," said Teresa Moran-Wiebe, the director of youth wellness with the Dairy Council of Florida. 

As kids grow older, they are reaching for that carton of milk a lot less. Government research shows less than one-third of high school students drink a glass of milk a day, and those between the ages of 12 and 19 drink less than half the amount of milk they did as young children.

It's a potential problem according to dietitians like Sarah Krieger. 

"There are nutrients in milk that are not found in many other foods, that especially teen girls and some teen boys can be missing out on," she explained.

Each beverage has 8 ounces of milk and is available with various flavored sweeteners, like caramel or chocolate. 

"They do want those flavor options. When we hear of new and exciting ways that students can consume milk that fits within school nutrition guidelines, then we certainly look to support that," said Moran-Wiebe.

Krieger said even the sugary-flavor enhancers can't negate milk's benefits. 

"It gives them the nutrients they need and they are getting less caffeine because they are drinking more milk, instead of just straight-up coffee,” she said.

Right now, Moo Brew is offered during breakfast, but they are looking at expanding to lunchtime as well. The cost of an iced coffee is two dollars. Any interested schools can go to floridamilk.com for more information.