Move comes after research shows lower-income shoppers losing the joy in food

Sainsbury’s is giving away free fresh and dried herbs and spices to lower-income shoppers to help them improve the flavour of their meals.

Sainsbury's is offering free herbs

Sainsbury’s is offering free herbs

The move follows new research by the supermarket revealing that half of those struggling to afford food have lost the joy in mealtimes, saying they’re no longer excited by food (54 per cent) and find mealtimes to be bland (49 per cent).

In what it describes as a UK first, Sainsbury’s is launching a Seasonings Shuttle service to offer free herbs and spices to users at mobile food clubs, run by The Bread and Butter Thing.

The initiative comes as a striking three-quarters (76 per cent) of those surveyed are cutting herbs and spices from their shopping baskets to save money, despite over two thirds (69 per cent) wanting to make mealtimes more exciting by adding the flavours found in these ingredients.

The resulting lack of diversity to diets has left Brits feeling unsatisfied, with nearly half (47 per cent) saying they don’t feel fulfilled after a meal.

As part of Sainsbury’s Nourish the Nation programme in partnership with Comic Relief, the Seasonings Shuttle sets out to tackle this “meal monotony” by ensuring that communities have access to good food, without having to compromise on taste.

Teaming up with mobile food redistribution charity The Bread and Butter Thing throughout May, Sainsbury’s will provide 1,600 food club members in Manchester and the Greater Manchester area with products that they wouldn’t usually receive in their shopping bags.

Range of ingredients

People visiting the Seasonings Shuttle can choose from a range of ingredients that are otherwise left off shopping lists. On offer will be a range of dried herbs such as oregano, parsley, and basil, as well as fresh herbs including chillies, ginger and garlic, plus aromatic spices such as smoked paprika, garam masala and ground cinnamon. Visitors to the shuttle will be able to take a range of jars and fresh options away so they can use the seasonings when preparing meals at home.

The initiative follows Sainsbury’s ‘Unspoken Words’ campaign, which launched last month after data revealed that a sobering 10 million people in the UK are at risk of not having access to enough food. The campaign helped to give a voice to food club members, highlighting the vital support these services provide within communities.

Ruth Cranston, director of corporate responsibility and sustainability at Sainsbury’s, said: “We hope that the Seasonings Shuttle will make mealtimes more varied and enjoyable for The Bread and Butter Thing’s members, helping them to stock up on herbs and spices so they can create more flavoursome and fulfilling dishes for many meals to come. With herbs and spices often getting left off shopping lists due to needing to prioritise other items, we wanted to create an initiative that supports our belief that everyone should have access to tasty and diverse food.

“The Seasonings Shuttle is the latest phase in our Nourish the Nation programme with Comic Relief, which aims to build upon our longstanding commitment to ensure everyone has access to good food that is balanced, nutritious, and sustainable.”