A school breakfast programme run by Fonterra and Sanitarium may be extended to five days a week with extra Government support from the Budget.
Prime Minister John Key confirmed today that the Government was talking to Fonterra, Sanitarium and the KidsCan charity about a food in schools package to be unveiled in the next few weeks.
Fonterra social responsibility manager Carly Robinson said Fonterra and Sanitarium were talking to "a number of people" about extending their Kickstart breakfast scheme, run in 575 schools in the four lowest-income deciles, from two mornings a week at present to five days.
"The feedback we are consistently getting from the schools is that they are all trying to stretch it out beyond two days, so we have been looking at is that something we can do to improve this programme, and who can work with us to do it," she said.
"They also need not just milk and Weet-Bix, they need bowls and spoons, there is a whole programme.
So absolutely it's a hot topic and we are talking with people about what we can do."
KidsCan chief executive Julie Chapman said this week that she had also been talking with officials and with Social Development Minister Paula Bennett about whether to renew or increase a current Government grant of $150,000 a year to her programme, which provides bread, muesli bars and other food for teachers to give to hungry children during the school day in 330 schools, also in the four poorest deciles.
Ms Robinson said the Kickstart programme cost in the order of $1 a breakfast and currently provided about 1 million breakfasts a year.
"To extend it to five days a week would cost roughly double that," she said.
Fonterra is also spending $10 million to $20 million a year on free milk for every primary school in the country that wishes to receive it. That scheme will soon reach more than 80 per cent of schools in Otago/Southland and will reach Canterbury next week, rolling gradually northwards to complete national coverage by the first term next year.