Parents will save around £400 per child when all infant school pupils in England get free school lunches from next September.
Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the plans for children in reception, Year 1 and Year 2, yesterday.
He said that targeting infants would ensure every child gets the chance in life that they deserve.
Free primary school meals for all pupils was one of the recommendations of a recent review of school food by two founders of the Leon restaurant chain for the Department for Education.
It concluded that packed lunches were nearly always less nutritious than a cooked meal.
It’s hoped the new scheme will encourage more parents to switch from providing packed lunches to letting their children have a hot school meal.
It also aims to teach healthy eating habits and boost attainment.
The National Union of Teachers welcomed the news, but would like the scheme to be extended to all primary school pupils.