Cows produce milk? 40% of British young adults unaware

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Milk Call them confused, uneducated or disconnected, but one thing is sure -- too many teens and young adults don’t know how their food is produced. These results were uncovered in a recent survey by LEAF, a British charity focused on connecting the environment and farming.

In the survey, 2,000 consumers were asked to match images of food with the animal or crop that produced it. Despite 43 percent of younger consumers aged 16 to 23 considering themselves knowledgeable on food production, this range of young adults showed the greatest lack of food knowledge.

'We often hear reports that our food knowledge may be declining, but this new research shows how bad the situation is becoming,” Caroline Drummond, LEAF chief executive told the DailyMail. “Despite what they think, young adults are clearly becoming removed from where their food comes from.”

Less than half of this younger generation of consumers knew that butter comes from dairy cows, according to the DailyMail. Among the adults, 58 percent knew where butter comes from, but still 2 percent thought it was produced by pigs or chickens.

Just 60 percent of the young adults were able to match milk with a dairy cow. Even more shocking, 7 percent of them associated it with wheat.  

Young adults were just as confused about other food products as well:

  • 33 percent didn’t know eggs are produced by chickens; 11 percent thought eggs are made of wheat or corn
  • 36 percent were unaware that bacon comes from pigs
  • One in 10 thought  new potatoes took less than a month to grow
  • One in five said that jam is produced by cereal crops
  • Young adults think beef cows do more than just produce beef - 8 percent though beef cows produce milk for humans, and 1 percent thought they produce eggs

Speak out: Do you think these same results could be found among young adults within the United States?

Comments (7) Leave a comment 

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Dr. Mauck    
Sullivan, IL  |  June, 18, 2012 at 10:04 AM

I have to say I'm skeptical. Even the dumbest people I've ever met know that milk comes from cows. Eggs from wheat or corn? Is it possible that the people taking these tests were BS'ing the test givers? I know many teenagers and young adults who would readily do just that.

June, 18, 2012 at 02:08 PM

i agree

D Taylor    
somerset UK  |  June, 19, 2012 at 07:37 AM

As with all of these types of studies if you want to produce note worthy results you pick your group carefully. 1) Start in the inner city 2) Pick a particularly deprived neighbourhood 3) Target groups/places where there may be a higher than average % of poorly educated people. Also, the other comment here may have some merit. Were they messing about? Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense

NY  |  June, 19, 2012 at 09:35 AM

Sadly, this study is probably accurate. Take some time and talk to consumers at the grocery stores or children at a school. At a recent ag field days, for local 4th graders, many children thought hot dogs were considered a dairy product and that milk was considered junk food. This was not in an urban area either, but a very rural area with a huge agricultural presence. Children are not taught where their food comes from, and the few schools that try to teach nutrition rely on volunteers who often have little to no background in nutrition or agriculture.

June, 19, 2012 at 01:58 PM

Why is it whenever a study shows that American teens are dumb, people talk about stupid Americans, but when Brit teens AND adults show a major lack of knowledge people think it is a joke?

S Fultz    
Frederick, MD  |  June, 20, 2012 at 09:42 AM

I would tend to agree with the findings. My wife was a fourth grade public school teacher in 1987-88 when she had parents arguing with her that marshmellows were part of the dairy food group in the food pyramid because they are white. Very sad but true.

Jessica romig.    
August, 13, 2012 at 06:34 PM

Jessica. Romig. I want to go see you outsides. I miss you hi hi hi hi hi.

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