A family food shopping. Credit: Sainsbury's
Sainsbury’s has announced that it will once again top up the Government funded NHS Healthy Start scheme by £2 – a move that could help feed more than half a million pregnant women and children in need of support over the coming months.
The retailer will be providing a £2 coupon every week over the next 6 months to customers using a Healthy Start card in Sainsbury’s, starting this week on Wednesday 12th October, until Tuesday 11th April 2023.
The NHS Healthy Start scheme helps to encourage a healthy diet for pregnant women, babies and young children under four from low-income households. Customers in England who use a Healthy Start card when shopping at Sainsbury’s automatically receive a printed coupon worth £2 to use towards fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables during their next shop.
Sainsbury’s first introduced the £2 top-up coupon in 2021, helping families during February half term and beyond. The coupon was then reintroduced throughout the winter to provide extra help to those who may be struggling over the Christmas period.
The additional £2 coupon was found to have a significant change on customer eating habits. Analysis by Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, in partnership with IGD, revealed that as a result of offering the top-up coupon in 2021, the number of fruit and vegetable portions purchased per customer significantly increased year on year. Sainsbury’s customers redeeming an NHS Healthy Start scheme top-up coupon purchased 13 more portions of fruit and vegetables per basket compared to those that didn’t, allowing low-income families to have access to nutritious food.
Sainsbury’s is also working with The Bread and Butter Thing, a community led network of food clubs across the North of England. It benefited from a Sainsbury’s Helping Everyone Eat Better Community Grant to develop an engagement programme focusing on increasing the uptake of the NHS Healthy Start scheme amongst low-income communities. With the funding, The Bread and Butter Thing is working hard to make sure that those who are eligible, in the North of England, are signed up to the NHS Healthy Start scheme, helping families to access the options available to them.
Ruth Cranston, Director of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at Sainsbury’s said:
“We know that times are tough for millions of families across the country, and that the rising cost-of-living is causing uncertainty for many of our customers, so today we’ve announced that we’ll be topping up the Government funded NHS Healthy Start scheme by £2 for the third time. As part of our brand promise Helping Everyone Eat Better, we believe that everyone deserves to eat well, and the cost of healthy food shouldn’t be a barrier to this. We hope this additional support will ensure that good, quality food is accessible for everyone.”
Sustain and the Food Foundation continue to campaign for an increase in the value of Healthy Start payments, expand the eligibility to more families the urgent fixing of outstanding issues caused by the digitisation.
Note: coupons are printed in superstores, not convenience stores. However, coupons can be redeemed in both superstores and convenience stores.
The NHS Business Services Authority deliver the NHS Healthy Start scheme on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.