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 six 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, 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.”
The step is the latest in a string of initiatives Sainsbury’s has introduced to ensure that its customers are eating more fruit and vegetables. Throughout the summer, Nectar’s ‘Great fruit & veg challenge’, ran for its third consecutive year with over half a million customers taking part and a whopping 89 million portions of fruit and vegetables purchased. The digital challenge offers Nectar customers incentives to purchase more portions of fruit and vegetables, as well as encouraging them to add more variety to their intake, whilst earning extra points.
With costs going up, Sainsbury’s is also working hard to keep prices low. The retailer has committed to invest £500 million by March 2023 in value, ensuring that the products that customers buy most to feed their families are affordable. Customers can find low prices through popular campaigns including Sainsbury’s Quality, Aldi Price Match, which currently includes the top 20 products customers buy most often and fruit and vegetable favourites such as cauliflower, strawberries, bananas and carrots.