School feeding programmes deliver nutrition direct to the classroom, improving children’s health and boosting their capacity to learn, while also helping to stimulate economic development.

​​​​​​​Why school feeding matters

Since 1962, Tetra Pak has been supporting governments and dairy processors in developing school feeding programmes around the world. These programmes address hunger and malnourishment, at the same time as creating demand for agricultural products from the local market. 

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that only one out of five children in the world get a meal in school every day. As a result, many children have little energy to concentrate and participate in class. They are more prone to low performance, to be absent, to fall sick and to drop out of school. Much of the annual $75 billion cost of school feeding is met by governments; the rest comes from donor funding and private supporters. The return on investment is substantial – for every US$1 spent, the WFP estimates at least US$3 is gained. Impact studies confirm the positive effects of school feeding programmes on children’s health and nutrition, on enrolment, attendance and performance, and on rural and economic development.

Health and nutrition

Health, nutrition and the role of milk

The first years of a child’s life are critical. A child doubles its height between the ages of two and 12, and proper nutrition is absolutely vital in laying the foundations for future health and wellbeing. School feeding programmes have an important part to play in combating malnutrition. 

Milk is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. Milk contains 18 of the 22 vitamins and minerals that humans need and it makes a significant contribution to our requirement for calcium, magnesium, selenium, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Calcium is vital for the growth and strength of human bones and so particularly important for children.

Kids drinking milk

How we support school feeding programmes

In 2016, 9 billion Tetra Pak packages with milk or other nutritious drinks reached 67 million children in schools in 57 countries as part of a school feeding programme.​ The most commonly used package is the Tetra Brik® Aseptic 200ml, while other popular options include Tetra Fino® Aseptic and Tetra Classic® Aseptic packages in various sizes. Aseptic packages offer a safe and practical solution, since they can be transported and stored in ambient temperatures without any need for cooling or preservatives. 

In most cases, packages for school milk programmes are specially designed and clearly marked “Not for sale or commercial use”, reducing the risk of their being sold on the commercial market. Packages can also be used to carry educational and entertaining messages and games; programme implementers can draw on our vast design portfolio for inspiration. 

Food for Development supports school feeding programme development and implementation in many ways. We advocate the benefits to governments, and explain how school feeding programmes can be linked to local food production. We help partners write funding proposals and applications. We also provide technical assistance, for example implementation manuals and training for programme staff and teachers. We can facilitate the development of new nutritious beverages based on local ingredients.

Improving health and boosting economies

Senior Project Manager Markus Huet is currently working to support school feeding programmes in Myanmar and the Philippines. He explains how the programmes are improving children’s health and strengthening rural economies, and how he goes about inspiring a sense of community ownership and engagement. Read our interview with Markus Huet

Qali Warma: improving nutrition in Peru

Tetra Pak is working closely with the government in Peru to develop and expand its existing school feeding programme, Qali Warma, with the aim of reaching 3.5 million children in 2016. Key Account Director Klaus Plenge, who is leading on the project for Tetra Pak, shares his insights into the challenges and opportunities. Read our interview with Klaus Plenge

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