This Is What Milk Label Colors Really Mean

You’ve probably never noticed how colorful the milk section is.

Woman shopping milk in grocery storeSergey Ryzhov/Shutterstock

Have you ever noticed how the milk section at your grocery store is actually quite colorful? The white cartons contrast with the bright colors of the different caps and labels. You’ve probably never realized it, but you most likely shop for your milk based on color instead of reading the label. The reason for that is because milk label color corresponds with the milk’s percentage of fat. Here’s the breakdown. (This is the secret meaning behind the color of your bread’s twist tie, too, by the way.)

2% Milk = blue or yellow

Most brands use blue or light blue caps to denote 2% milk. At certain grocery stores, you’ll see 2% milk with a yellow label. For example, the brands Kemp’s and Dairy Maid use the color yellow for their 2% milk. The brands Clover Organics and Borden use blue.

1% Milk = green

The color green is typically used for 1% milk.

Whole Milk = red

Whole milk labels are red so that they stand out from the reduced fat and skim milk.

Skim Milk = purple

Skim milk, or non-fat milk, has a purple cap indicating that it contains little to no fat.

Not all grocery stores and brands follow this coloring system—so make sure to double-check the wording on the label before you throw the blue-capped milk in your cart. Now that you know why milk is color-coded, check out the hidden meaning behind 12 other everyday objects.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for rd.com, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.