Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme

The Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme will replace the existing UK Nursery Milk Scheme in Scotland. Payments will be made under the new scheme from 1 August 2021.

The purpose of the new Scheme is to support the health and wellbeing of young children and to instil healthy behaviours for life.

Our ambition is to ensure that as many children as possible attending eligible pre-school settings are in receipt of the milk and healthy snack policy, embedding the habit of regular consumption of high-quality dairy produce and fruit and vegetables from an early age.

Eligible childcare settings which are registered with the Care Inspectorate and have registered for the new Scheme, will receive agreed funding via local authorities  to provide cow’s milk (or, where children cannot drink cow’s milk, a specified alternative) and a portion of fruit or vegetables to pre-school children who are in registered day care for 2 hours or more. 

Payments will be made to those eligible  childcare settings which have registered with their local authority for the new Scheme.  

We will fund the new Scheme which is open equally to regulated childcare settings, whether or not they provide ELC funded places. 

Joining the Scheme

Eligible settings wishing to participate in the new Scheme will need to register with their local authority. Each setting will need to register in the local authority in which it operates (in the case of chains, registration must be where each individual setting is located).

Additional information on how to register for the new Scheme will be available from local authorities and further information including guidance for authorities and settings will be available via this page  in May 2021.  

Eligible childcare settings are strongly encouraged to ensure that they register in plenty of time for the new Scheme to ensure that they can access the agreed funding to provide milk and healthy snack from 1 August 2021.

End of the UK Nursery Milk Scheme in Scotland

The last day of the UK Nursery Milk Scheme in Scotland will be 31 July 2021.

Milk provided  up to and on the 31 July 2021 can be submitted to the UK NMS for 6 months. Claims must be submitted to the UK NMS to the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit before 31 January 2022.

Funding  for milk and snack to be consumed from 1 August 2021 will be provided to eligible settings which register for the Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme.


Powers over Welfare Foods were devolved to Scotland through provisions in the Scotland Act (2016). The accompanying transfer of functions has provided Scotland with an opportunity to establish and deliver a tailored scheme in Scotland to support improving children’s health and nutrition and tackling health inequalities. 

The new Scheme will be delivered by local authorities who will provide agreed direct and upfront funding for all pre-school day care and childminder settings which are registered with Care Inspectorate.

This applies to the following settings:

  • where children spend 2 or more hours per day
  • where the settings have registered with their local authority to be part of the Scheme

This means that settings will get their agreed funding for the Scheme upfront to enable them to purchase the specified products for their children throughout that year.

The new Scheme will cover 189mls (1/3 pint) per child per day of:

  • plain fresh cow’s milk (whole milk for children 1 year and over, including the option of semi-skimmed milk for children 2 years and over) or first infant formula (for children under 12 months)
  • or, where children cannot consume cow’s milk for medical, ethical or religious reasons, plain fresh goat or sheep milk (whole milk for children 1 year and over or to include semi skimmed milk for children 2 years),  or a specified unsweetened calcium-enriched non-dairy   alternative
  • and a healthy snack portion ( fruit or vegetables) per child per day

The regulations all drinks to be provided in 200mls servings where the milk or non-dairy alternatives is only supplied in 200 ml containers.  

The most recent nutritional advice recommends that children should be offered plain cow’s  milk under the Scheme as the most nutritious drink. Alternatives should only be provided where parents advise that children cannot drink cow’s milk for medical, ethical or religious reasons.