Play Fair with Plant Milk was set up in 2019, after the society highlighted what it said was inequality surrounding the favoring of animal milk, and the lack of choice or inclusion of plant milk alternatives, in various public health initiatives.
The UK’s current Nursery Milk Scheme reimburses eligible childcare providers the cost of providing milk to children under 5 years of age. Since the scheme was first established in the 1940s, children under five who attend approved day-care facilities, have been entitled to receive 1/3 of a pint of cow’s milk each day, free of charge.
However, the scheme does not include fortified plant milk alternatives, which The Vegan Society said indirectly discriminates against vegan pupils, who do not benefit from the vitamins and minerals available in fortified plant beverages.
Following discussions between The Vegan Society and The Scottish Government, and now with approval from Food Standards Scotland, funding will be available for day-care providers and childminders to provide unsweetened calcium enriched soya drinks, for children over 12 months who cannot consume cow’s milk due to medical, ethical or religious reasons.
It will be made available under the new Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme, which rolls out across all local authorities on August 1, 2021.
Sabrina Ahmed, campaigns and policy officer at The Vegan Society, said, “This sets a great precedent for other public health schemes to follow suit.”
Heather Russell, dietitian at The Vegan Society, said, “This scheme recognizes the nutritional need for suitable alternatives to milk, which will help to ensure that vegan children receive the best care, including balanced food.”