Sainsbury’s £2 top-up coupon scheme extended to Wales and NI
Cost of living: Tesco shoppers scramble for reduced food
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Sainsbury’s has announced it will be extending its £2 top-up coupons that accompany the Government funded NHS Healthy Start scheme to Wales and Northern Ireland. The move comes as soaring living costs – particularly those of food inflation – continue to add significant pressure to household finances.
The £2 top-up coupons are usually available to Sainsbury’s customers using a Healthy Start card in England but now, customers in Wales and Northern Ireland will also be able to benefit.
The NHS Healthy Start scheme helps to encourage a healthy diet for pregnant women, babies and young children under the age of four from low-income households.
The Healthy Start cards are distributed through the scheme to eligible families and provide pregnant women or families with a child between the age of one and four years old with £4.25 a week to use when purchasing milk, fruit or vegetables. Families with a child under the age of one receive £8.50 each week.
The Sainsbury’s top-up coupons mean families that use their Healthy Start card each week in a Sainsbury’s superstore could receive either £6.25 or £10.50 worth of healthy and nutritious food per week instead.
The £2 top-up initiative will be rolled out over a six-month period, seeing customers using a Healthy Start card in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland automatically receive a printed coupon worth £2, every week, until Tuesday, April 11 2023.
Sainsbury’s first introduced the £2 top-up coupon in 2021 to help families during the February half term. The coupon was then reintroduced last Christmas to provide extra help to those struggling over the festive period.
Ruth Cranston, director of corporate responsibility and sustainability at Sainsbury’s said: “We know how challenging things are at the moment and as the cost of living continues to rise, we’re committed to helping ensure that everyone has access to affordable and nutritious food.
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“We are really pleased we can extend our £2 top-up for the NHS Healthy Start scheme to eligible customers in Wales and Northern Ireland and hope the additional coupon will provide some relief to many people over the coming months. Through our Nourish the Nation community programme, we remain dedicated to helping tackle food insecurity now and in the future.”
Rebecca Tobi, senior business and investor engagement manager at the Food Foundation commented: “Many families are really struggling at the moment as cost of living challenges intensify. Our latest data tracking in the UK finds that one in four households with children has experienced food insecurity in the past month, with four million children living in households experiencing food insecurity.
“Sainsbury’s decision to extend its coupon offer to families in Wales and Northern Ireland will help to reduce health inequities by ensuring that all Healthy Start recipients are eligible for the £2 top-up.
“We know that good nutrition during the first few years of life is critical for healthy growth and development, so it would be great to see other retailers follow Sainsbury’s lead and boost their support of the Healthy Start scheme.”
What can people buy using the Healthy Start and top-up coupons?
The schemes allow eligible cardholders to buy certain types of milk, infant formula, and fruits and vegetables – and there are specific criteria to adhere to.
According to the NHS, the fruits and vegetables must be fresh or frozen or tinned; whole or chopped; packaged or loose; fruit in fruit juice, or fruit or vegetables in water, or fresh, dried or tinned pulses.
In regard to milk, cardholders can only purchase plain cow’s milk, which is pasteurised, sterilised, long-life or ultra-heat treated (UHT).
The instant formula must be either stage one only (first infant formula), made from cow’s milk, or nutritionally complete. It should not be follow-on formula or milk ‘from six months’, or ‘from six to 12 months’.
People can apply for a Healthy Start card by using the NHS’s dedicated Healthy Start website.
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