Published yesterday on World School Milk Day, the Global Survey on School Milk found that a total of 140m children around the world benefit from school milk – with 57% receiving it at least five days per week.
In 58% of existing programmes, children were provided with free milk. Another 27% of programmes were subsidized.
“This joint review shows that milk and dairy foods are still as popular as ever and are widely perceived as essential to healthy eating," said Judith Bryans, CEO of Dairy UK and Action Team Leader on the School Milk Survey.
"At a time when a number of misconceptions about the benefits of dairy still need to be address, this review shows that schools, teachers, parents and children have a good understanding of the nutritional benefits of dairy and are keen to make dairy healthy go-to foods.”
“As an industry we have to help them do that by ensuring our products are available,” she added.
Conducted with the support of Tetra Pak's parent company, Tetra Laval, the study offers an update on the 1998 FAO International School Milk Survey.
"I am happy that the IDF has taken the initiative to rerun the school milk survey and by so doing provided much-needed updated information and analysis on this important subject," said the FAO's Michael Griffin, who worked on the 1998 survey.
Marking World School Milk Day, Tetra Pak said it was "proud to reach almost half of all children drinking school milk worldwide."
In 2014, 8.2bn Tetra Pak cartons filled with milk and other liquid products reached 66m children around the world, it said.