Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme

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. 

From 1 April a new national, higher and combined rate for milk, non-dairy alternatives and healthy snacks will take effect pending a full consultation on a longer-term scheme. The national rate will be a combined rate to cover a serving of milk or a non-dairy alternative, and a portion of fruit and vegetables.

Revised guidance will be issued in advance of 1 April to outline the national rate and what it means for settings and local authorities delivering the Scottish Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme.

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 from local authorities.


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 drink
  • and a healthy snack portion ( fruit or vegetables) per child per day

The regulations state 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.

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