There is lots of work happening in Russia to support the consumption of milk and Tetra Laval is doing work in schools there to improve children’s health.
In Russia, the milk and dairy products consumption level is decreasing. In 1989, the milk consumption level was 396 kg/capita/year. By 2016 it had decreased to 236 kg.
Many children do not get the nutrition that they need. Calcium consumption is only half of the reference intake. Funding for school feeding is also challenge and, in many cases, parents have to pay for school meals.
To improve child health and promote milk consumption, school milk was launched in 2005. School milk now reach 10% of the Russian school children. In 2018, 1.3 million children in 18 of the 85 regions of Russia received school milk. New regions are added every year.
The school milk model with UHT milk guarantees food safety and allows efficient distribution without the need for refrigeration.
The Russian NGO “The Health of Our Children” promotes the benefits of school nutrition at federal and regional levels. The NGO conducts events including Milk Day, lessons about benefits of milk, contests, and festivals. Information is shared with stakeholders through the school milk web site www.schoolmilk.info
Many regions have evaluated the impact of school milk on consumption and child health. It has been shown that regions with school milk have higher consumption rates than the average for Russia.
“The Russian School Milk Programme is supported by the authorities, milk producers and public organizations in Russia. Thanks to these synergies it has been successfully implemented for 13 years. Last year, the children participating in the programme consumed nearly 50 thousand tons of locally produced milk in school.”
Olga Panova, Chief Executive, “The Health of Our Children”.
Efforts are being made to promote sustainability of the programme by adopting legislation that would make school milk compulsory for all regions.
More regions introduce school milk as evidence is growing of the positive impacts it has on consumption and child health. The positive Russian experiences are also shared with many other countries looking at introducing and developing their school feeding programmes.