THE Government’s decision to require schools to provide free milk for children will help shape future consumption trends, according to the NFU.

Education Secretary Michael Gove recently announced new food standards regulations for schools, intended to ensure the school diet is healthier for children. The new regulations, which will come into effect on January 1 next year, state that semiskimmed milk should be available every day to children in order to address concerns about low calcium levels in children.

The regulations will also require one or more portions of vegetables or salad as an accompaniment every day and at least three different fruits and three different vegetables each week.

Limits will be set on the quantity of sugary and fried foods served up each week.

NFU chief dairy adviser, Rob Newbery, said the announcement was good news for Britain’s dairy farmers. He said: “The fresh liquid milk market in the UK is almost unique in Europe and the world.

“By providing fresh milk for children in schools, not only are we improving the nutritional profile of their meals, we’re also shaping consumption trends in the future.

“Dairy farmers will continue to produce a high quality nutritious product, so it’s great news that the market for their milk is being developed in this positive way.”