WASHINGTON — How much Greek yogurt can school children eat in three months? 200,000 pounds.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. announced Thursday the success of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Greek yogurt pilot program which began in November.
Participating schools in New York, Tennessee, Idaho and Arizona consumed 200,000 pounds of Greek yogurt, worth $300,000.
“Clearly New York students ate up the USDA Greek yogurt pilot program, and I am urging the USDA to continue this great work ad add it to more states,” Schumer said in a news release.
The USDA is currently looking to add the program in four more states, according to Schumer’s office.
The pilot program was set up to test the cost effectiveness of offering high-protein Greek yogurt in school lunch programs, which feed 31 million students monthly nationwide.
New Berlin-based Chobani was selected as the yogurt of choice for the program.
“We’re thrilled at the success of the USDA pilot program,” Chobani Founder and Chief Executive Officer Hamdi Ulukaya in a news release. “Providing students with affordable, delicious, nutritious food made with only natural ingredients is one of the most important things we can do as a company, and the success of the pilot in the first four states is a testament to the growing popularity of Greek yogurt.”
New York was elected because of the Greek yogurt manufacturing in the area and high level of interest among state school districts.
Given the USDA’s confirmation that the first phase of the pilot was a success, Schumer is urging the USDA to expand to more states to further test shipping logistics and cost-effectiveness.
The increased consumption will provide a boon for the state’s yogurt and dairy industry as Greek yogurt requires more milk than regular yogurt. It also provides more protein than regular, unstrained yogurt.
“The USDA has done great work thus far, and I hope they will continue bringing this protein-packed snack to more school lunch rooms,” Schumer said.