The European Commission has published the budget of the EU school fruit, vegetables and milk scheme for the school year 2021/2022.

A total of €220 million has been made available for the next school year to distribute fruit, vegetables and milk to school children.

Ireland’s definitive allocation for school fruit and vegetables is €1,811,039; and the allocation for school milk is €900,398. This is a decrease from the total 2020/2021 school year allocation to Ireland of almost €3.27 million.

According to the European Commission, consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables and of milk in the EU “does not meet international or national nutritional recommendations”.

On the other hand, consumption of processed food, which is often high in added sugar, salt, fat or additives, is on the rise.

“Unhealthy diets, together with low physical activity, result in obesity. This is why the EU takes action to help children follow a healthy diet and lifestyle.”


Applicable since August 1, 2017, the EU school fruit, vegetables and milk scheme combines two previous schemes (the school fruit and vegetables scheme and the school milk scheme) under a single legal framework for more efficiency and an enhanced focus on health and educational.

The total EU budget for the scheme, in the period 2017 to 2023, is €250 million per school year of which up to €150 million is for fruit and vegetables and up to €100 million for milk. This budget is broken down by country based on the number of children, the level of regional development and, for milk, on how the budget was previously used.

The scheme supports the distribution of fruit, vegetables, milk and certain milk products to school children, from nursery to secondary school.

‘Reconnect children to agriculture’

EU countries approve a list of products (in collaboration with their health and nutrition authorities) which will help achieve the schemes objective of helping children to follow a healthy diet.

The scheme also supports educational measures. This can include lessons but can also help fund farm visits, school gardens, tasting and cooking workshops, theme days and games.

The objective of these educational measures is “to reconnect children to agriculture and teach them about healthy eating habits”. Issues such as local food chains, organic farming, sustainable production or food waste may also be covered.