Cookies and milk are seen as a classic holiday duo by more than four in five Americans

New fairlife/Ipsos Poll finds that when eating cookies, most prefer to pair with a rich and creamy glass of milk over any other beverage

The author(s)
  • Marie-Pierre Lemay Senior Account Manager, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, December 16, 2020 — A new fairlife/Ipsos poll finds that many Americans will turn to food for comfort this holiday season, with 85% agreeing that traditional holiday foods can help to reestablish normalcy this holiday season and a similar proportion saying that no matter what else is different this year, their favorite holiday foods are something they will be enjoying. Thinking about holiday foods more specifically, 84% agree that milk and cookies are a classic holiday duo – and three quarters admit they will most likely be indulging in holiday cookies this year. When eating cookies, most Americans would prefer to pair with a rich and creamy glass of milk over any other type of beverage.

Detailed Findings

More than eight in ten Americans agree that traditional holiday foods can help to reestablish normalcy this holiday season (85%) – and another 85% say that no matter what else has to change about the holidays this year, they will be enjoying their favorite holiday foods.

  • Three quarters (75%) also believe that this year, it is more important than ever to celebrate (or start) holiday traditions – with women (78% vs. 71% of men), middle aged adults (79% of those aged 35-54 vs. 70% of those aged 55+), and parents (84% vs. 72% of those with no children living at home) especially likely to feel this way.
  • From a list of eight holiday traditions included in the survey, Americans are most familiar with holiday baking (72%), followed by baking/decorating sugar cookies (59%), making holiday beverages (58%), holiday pies (57%), leaving cookies and milk out for Santa (56%), and making/decorating gingerbread cookies/houses (52%). Fewer are familiar with cookie exchanges (39%) and baking/decorating candy cane/peppermint cookies (33%) while only 10% say that they have never heard of any of these. Women are consistently more likely than men to say that they are familiar with all of these.
  • When it comes to taking part in these same holiday traditions, just over half plan to do some holiday baking this year (51%). Roughly a third plan to make holiday beverages (35%), holiday pies (33%), and/or sugar cookies (30%), and one in five say that they will be leaving cookies and milk out for Santa (19%) and/or making/decorating gingerbread cookies/houses (19%). Leaving milk and cookies out for Santa is especially popular among younger adults (26% of those aged 18-34) and parents (44%).

There is consensus among Americans that milk and cookies are a classic holiday duo (84%). In fact, when eating cookies, six in ten say that they would prefer to pair this treat with a rich and creamy glass of milk over any other type of beverage (61%).

  • Three quarters admit that they will most likely be indulging in holiday cookies this holiday season (77%) and nearly as many say that they have a favorite/go-to holiday cookie that they like to indulge in (70%). Adults under the age of 35 and parents stand out as being especially likely to say they have a favorite holiday cookie - and to plan on indulging this year - compared to older adults and those with no children living at home.
  • Two thirds (65%) also report that they will most likely be baking holiday cookies this holiday season – and this proportion jumps to at least three quarters among adults between the ages of 18-34 (77%) and parents (80%).

Though 81% agree that the holiday season can make it hard to eat healthy, three quarters (76%) say that they will do their best to maintain a healthy lifestyle, while still indulging in holiday classics. Roughly half say that having milk that contains more protein than regular milk (50%) and less sugar (46%) would help make some of their holiday traditions even better (e.g., enjoying milk and cookies, baking, etc.).

  • To maintain a healthier lifestyle during the holiday season, most Americans - especially men (63%), the more affluent (70% of those with a household income of $100,000 or more), parents (71%), and those with a college degree (64%) – report looking at nutritional facts labels when shopping to understand the nutrient content such as the amount of fat, sugar, fiber, and protein contained in different food/beverages (59%).
  • Similarly, nearly half (49%) also report looking for foods with labels that say 'reduced sugar' or 'sugar-free' as ‘better for you’ options in trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season.

About the Study

These are the findings from an Ipsos poll conducted November 13 - 16, 2020 on behalf of fairlife. For the survey, a sample of 1,003 adults ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.
The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.  

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,003, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=   +/-5.0 percentage points for all respondents).


For more information on this news release, please contact:
Marie-Pierre Lemay
Director, US
Public Affairs
[email protected]

About Ipsos

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About fairlife

fairlife, LLC was founded in 2012 to produce nourishing and great-tasting milk-based products made using a patented cold-filtration process that removes some natural sugars while concentrating the protein and calcium naturally found in real cows’ milk. The line of delicious, lactose-free fairlife® products includes fairlife® ultra-filtered milk, which has 50% more protein and 50% less sugar than regular milk. In partnership with The Coca-Cola Company®, fairlife ultra-filtered milk is distributed throughout the United States (U.S.) and Canada. To learn more about fairlife and its collection of products, please visit or follow the company on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.



The author(s)
  • Marie-Pierre Lemay Senior Account Manager, US, Public Affairs