Bag-in-Box School Milk Initiative in Latvia

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Milk dispensers in schools help to increase children's milk intake.

The Government of Latvia is keen to promote the drinking of milk in its schools as part of a countrywide drive to increase nutritional intake by young children. In April 2006, an initiative was launched in a secondary school in the capital Riga, using bag-in-box catering dispensers.

The concept was initiated by Rigas Piena Kombinats (RPK), the largest milk processing enterprise in Latvia RPK worked closely with two other companies on this initiative, Autonumis and Rapak. Autonumis is a leading manufacturer of dispensing machines and Rapak is one of the world's largest suppliers of liquid packaging and dispensing technologies.

Combining their expertise, these three companies have already had a major impact on the drinking of milk in Latvian schools with consumption having rocketed in the last four months of 2006. The advantages of using dispensers for school milk include ease of use, convenience and hygienic dispense of a 200 ml measure without any wastage or mess. There is also the important benefit that the milk is always kept at just the right cool temperature for drinking.

At the moment, the age limit for free milk is 11 years. Already a great success in schools throughout Latvia, volume of bag-in-box milk consumption could triple in the next few months, should the Government agree to extend the scheme to the 11-16 year age group. The scheme is going down well with the children themselves and research has been monitoring the impact of the initiative. Initial results found that:

  •     65% of children are happy to use the bag-in-box milk dispensers.
  •     Some schools reported that the dispensers were used by 100% of their pupils.
  •     What's more, 100% of the children surveyed liked the idea of using a dispenser for milk and the drinking of milk was rapidly made more popular with them.
  •     88% of the school staff surveyed said that the use of dispensers facilitated their task of running the school milk programme.

Clearly, the school milk initiative has been a huge success, encouraging milk consumption and health among young students in Latvia.

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LUCY PEACOCK
Rapak
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