Share this page

SwissMilk school milk program

'Break-time milk day' makes children
and teachers aware of the importance
of milk as a healthy breaktime snack




Number of children

330,000 approx

Age range

4-16 years



Program overview

In 2001, ‘Break-time Milk Day’ was launched. The growing debate on overweight children and unhealthy break-time snacks has raised awareness of the value of break-time milk, a healthy option, among parents and teaching staff.  This festival, which takes place once a year in November, is an opportunity to make some 320,000-330,000 children, and also teachers, aware of the importance of milk as a healthy snack for recess. Encompassing around 2700 schools, children are provided with whole milk at breaktime, around 40% of all children in the country.

The initiative was introduced to promote understanding of milk as a healthy and nutritious breaktime snack, and on the day, milk is presented at each recess period. The program is supported by the Swiss Union of Female Farmers and Rural Women (USPF) in collaboration with parents of the students and teaching staff.

The idea behind this stems from the increasing trend towards being overweight and junk food. Children and adolescents are more and more affected. The program helps present to children milk will be presented to as a healthy and varied alternative to snacks and sugary drinks. The next Milk Day will take place on Thursday, November 4, 2021.

Type of products

Whole milk provided during breaktime

Stakeholder engaged

Swiss Union of Female Farmers & Rural Women (USPF), parents, teachers

Additional details

The success of ‘Break-time Milk Day’ shows that the diet of schoolchildren has gained new significance. In order to stress the important role of milk in the nutrition of children, a balanced mix of information, teaching aids, and opportunities, is used to raise awareness among teachers and parents. Milk-dispensing facilities and targeted voucher-based support are used by the Foundation to generate interest.

Break-time Milk Day has two components: knowledge transfer and product use. It appeals to teachers, children, and parents alike, and transmits the essence of milk’s health benefits for schoolchildren. It focuses on milk-dispensing facilities to allow schoolchildren to drink milk and see how good it tastes; demonstrating alternatives to soft drinks in schools; Informing not only schoolchildren but also teachers and parents that a healthy diet includes three servings of milk and dairy products per day and providing teaching staff with informative materials on break-time milk and healthy break refreshments.

In addition to milk counters, for decades, Swiss milk has offered a many-faceted educational package on the topics of milk/milk productions, nutrition, cooking practice, and dairy cows. The teaching material appeals to teachers and is consistently rated as high quality and very useful.



Monitoring & impact

Swiss milk uses the “Schule” newsletter to inform teaching staff 4-6 times a year about new educational offerings as well as news on milk and agriculture. For parents’ evenings, brochures and posters on healthy snacks during breaks are popular. For all class levels, Swissmilk offers nutrition workshops run by qualified nutritionists. Due to the coronavirus, these workshops have been temporarily suspended.

To mark the 20th anniversary “From Stable to Table” was held, with a focus on milk and dairy products. Schoolchildren learned about agricultural products, and exciting things about the production.  Teaching materials and aids were used as a module, for individual lessons, workshop instruction, or field trips, and to submit ideas on combating food waste.

Dietary guidelines

Switzerland’s food guide is divided into six levels of daily consumption. At the base there is water and other sugar-free beverages, followed by fruits and vegetables; grains, potatoes and pulses to be eaten in abundance. In the fourth level there are animal source products and tofu, and on the fifth fats and nuts – these should be eaten in moderation. 

At the apex of the pyramid products that should be eaten sparingly can be found: sweetened/alcoholic drinks and sweet/salty snacks. The food plate is used to represent an optimal distribution of foods in a meal. The nutrition disk shows the recommendations for children. Currently for dairy. the recommendation is 3 times a day, 2 dl whole milk = 1 portion.