Back to school

It’s a return to school for a lot of children this September, and that means not only uniforms and new notebooks but also school milk programmes. As a celebration, World School Milk Day is again being held this year, on 28 September. This event has been going on since 2000 and is promoted by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation.

School milk is one of the major programmes of the world, with regard to feeding children. In 2021, Tetra Pak estimates milk was served to 61 million children in 41 countries, who received milk or other nutritious beverages in Tetra Park packages through school feeding programmes. The World Food Programme estimates 388 million children in at least 169 countries receive meals at school every day.

For example, Mexico has one of the world’s oldest school milk schemes, with its “Drop of Milk programme” established to address challenges related to child malnutrition, school attendance and food insecurity. Mexico is the world’s 13th largest producer of milk, at 12.9 million metric tons produced in 2021. More than six million children in the country currently benefit from being fed at school.

Overall, the prospect of children facing malnutrition and hunger is set to increase, in light of global inflation and other factors. With the world’s population set to expand to over 9.7 billion by 2050, the education setting will continue to be a key place where children can get a nutritious meal with milk.

Funnily enough, I was looking on Dairy UK’s website and came across its school lunchbox nutrition tips, complete with recipes. I am contemplating making the lemon and yogurt loaf, particularly as I made my own homemade yogurt last week, having a surplus of milk. The broccoli and cheese muffins will also probably have an outing, as there is nothing better than a grab and go snack for everyone, not just the children.

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