Veganism is booming and with that the demand for plant-based food has skyrocketed accordingly. Research shows that 1 in 3 people regularly buy plant-based milks, including soya, oat, coconut, almond, hazelnut, cashew, hemp, rice and flax milks.
Despite this, animal milk is promoted and supported in various nutritional public health initiatives for children, which do not include any plant milk alternatives. This means that vegan children do not benefit from the initiatives, which are designed to increase calcium intake for growing kids. Vegan children often miss out or have to rely on parents to provide their own milk, something that is not always possible for low-income families.
Examples of Schemes/Initiatives affected:
- Healthy Start Scheme (Best Start Foods Scheme in Scotland)
- EU School Milk subsidy scheme
- School Food Standards (mandatory daily milk section)
- UN School Milk Day (25 September)
- Nursery Milk Scheme
The Vegan Society are challenging the unfair promotion of cow's milk, where fortified plant milks can provide the same nutritional content to children.
We want to see fortified plant milk recognised as an alternative, wherever animal milk is currently supported or promoted.
We are doing this by formally challenging the government and other institutions directly, making the case that the current situation discriminates against vegan children along with those who have dairy allergies and intolerances or even those children who just do not like animal milk. We want to see all of these schemes broaden their scope to support fortified plant milk alternatives as well, for the benefit of vegan children and any child who can't or doesn't want to drink dairy.
Keep up to date with all of our campaign work on this issue here.
You can get involved and further the campaign in the following ways:
- Write to the government and other institutions highlighting this issue
- Share experiences of discrimination
- Share twitter hashtags around World Plant Milk Day and School Milk Day
Read about the discrimination vegan children (and others who do not or cannot drink animal milk) face in schools here.