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Michael Barker

BY MICHAEL BARKER

@michaelbarker

Friday 30th October 2020, 10:46 London

Tesco offers free fruit and veg to 500,000 families

Move by supermarket means half a million families will gain access to fruit and vegetables via Healthy Start vouchers

Tesco offers free fruit and veg to 500,000 families

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Tesco is expanding its food donation programme to help families eat more fresh fruit and vegetables over the winter.

From November 16, the supermarket will give any of the 500,000 families who use the weekly Healthy Start vouchers a £1 coupon to spend on fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables. Every time a customer hands over their vouchers at the checkout, they will automatically receive the money-off coupon to redeem off their next shop. 

Footballer Marcus Rashford’s Child Poverty Task Force, of which Tesco is a member, is currently pressing the government to increase the value of the Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week, up from £3.10. 

Healthy Start is a government scheme to improve the health of low-income pregnant women and families on benefits and tax credits. Under the scheme, eligible families are provided with vouchers every week to spend on milk, fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables, fresh, dried, and tinned pulses, and infant formula milk.   

In addition to funding the £1 coupon, Tesco is donating an additional £4 million of food to FareShare to support it through the current period of record demand, meaning the supermarket has now donated more than £60m of food in the past year.  

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK & ROI chief executive, said: “Right now, many families are facing hardship as a result of the pandemic and we want to help by providing nutritious food to those who need it. In addition to topping up the Healthy Start vouchers by £1 each week, we’re providing an extra £4m of food to FareShare in the run up to Christmas, on top of our regular monthly food donations, to support food banks and community groups with vital supplies at a time when so many people are relying on them.” 

Rashford added: "We all have a role to play in the community and I'm thrilled that another one of the Taskforce members has proactively stepped up to support our most vulnerable in their time of need. Increasing the value of the Healthy Start vouchers is a key ask of this Taskforce but in the true spirit of togetherness, and with true understanding of need, Tesco has not waited for action but, instead, has taken action. I'm extremely grateful as this move will make a big difference to the lives of nearly 500,000." 

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