The £2 top-ups have been proven to boost sales and consumption of fruit and veg

Sainsbury’s will top up the government-funded NHS Healthy Start scheme by £2 in a move it said could help feed more than half a million pregnant women and children in need of support over the coming months.

Healthy Start vouchers boost fruit and veg consumption

Healthy Start vouchers boost fruit and veg consumption

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.

The NHS Healthy Start scheme helps to encourage a healthy diet for pregnant women, babies and young children under four from low-income households. Shoppers in England who use a Healthy Start card at Sainsbury’s will 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, the supermarket pointed out. 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 among low-income communities. With the funding, The Bread and Butter Thing is working 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 and 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.”