School Milk Knowledge Hub

Bringing together knowledge on school milk programs from around the world

Share this page

Providing vital nutrition

There is long history of organizing school milk programs in every corner of the world, either as part of school meals programs or as stand-alone school milk programs. School feeding programs have been identified as important social protection mechanism as they provide good nutrition and education to children, as well as are able to support local economies.

Organizing these programs sustainably needs careful preparation, monitoring and evaluation. Led by experts from within the global IDF network, The School Milk Knowledge Hub has been designed to bring together the knowledge and expertise on the implementation and organization of these programs. 

Explore the Hub for information on existing programs, case studies, resources and campaigns and other important links.

Global importance

School milk programs are common in many countries around the world, for good reason. The benefits of providing school children with milk are plentiful. Dairy’s well-known natural nutrient-richness provides an abundant supply of high-quality protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iodine, and vitamins B2 and B12. Analysis also shows that a quality education, combined with a guaranteed package of health and nutrition interventions at school, such as school feeding, can contribute to child and adolescent development and build human capital.


IDF Position Paper on the importance of milk and dairy foods in school

This document was developed by the IDF’s Action Team on School Milk Programmes and highlights the important role of milk and dairy products as part of School Meal Programmes.

The following aspects are addressed:

  • An introduction to the importance of healthy food at school;
  • The importance of dairy in school meal programs
  • Formal school milk programmes; and
  • Sustainability and affordability of school milk programmes.

Read the full position paper here. 

A longstanding history

Since 1993, IDF has provided an overview of the development, implementation and improvement of school milk programs.

The work undertaken by IDF provided the foundation for the FAO survey conducted in 1998, published in IDF bulletin 341/1999. In 2013, the FAO and IDF again worked collaboratively to gain insights into milk programs in operation, in the largest global review ever conducted. The new data was compared to the 1998 results, enabling a unique insight invaluable to those involved in running programs and those within the dairy sector supplying the milk, and the results were published in the 2015 IDF bulletin 480/2015.

Current IDF data shows that at least 160 million children around the world currently receive and benefit from receiving milk at schools, and evidence showing the multiple benefits generated through school feeding programs is growing. It is vital that the importance of school milk programs in promoting good health in our children continues to be recognized by governments and supported by intergovernmental organisations.

Watch the presentation “School Milk Programs and Highlighting Other Public Nutrition Approaches – Reach and Impact” on the latest data here.

Learn more

School milk case studies

Sharing practical experience and resources from around the world.

Read More

Overview of programs worldwide

A long history of contributing to the good health and nutrition of school children around the world.

Read More

School milk resources

Find help with promoting, supporting and implementing school milk programs in your region.

Read More

It is vital that intergovernmental organisations and governments continue to recognise the importance of school milk programmes in promoting good health in our children


Sharing experience & resources from around the globe

National School Milk Programme (Dairy Association of China, 2021)

Providing milk and free lunches across schools in China

Read More

The smarter lunchrooms movement of California

Creating sustainable, research-based practices in the lunchrooms that guide students toward smarter choices in the school cafeteria.....

Read More

UK School Milk Schemes

Supporting healthy eating habits and good nutritional health in children from an early age

Read More

Danish School Milk Scheme

Creating healthy eating and drinking habits for children through a voluntary school milk programme

Read More

Peru’s school nutrition program

Preserving culture with innovative product and package design

Read More

Addressing childhood malnutrition in Sri Lanka

New school milk program in Sri Lanka also promotes food safety and recycling

Read More

Related reports & publications

IDF provides a permanent source of authoritative scientific and other information on a whole range of topics relevant to the dairy sector.