Our reaction to Sainsbury’s restarting its Healthy Start offer


Sainsbury's has reintroduced its weekly £2 top up coupons to customers using a Healthy Start card, as part of a scheme that runs until April 11, 2023.

Eligible customers will automatically receive a £2 printed coupon at the supermarket's tills whenever they use their Healthy Start card. It is valid when purchasing fresh, frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables, helping low income families to access affordable, nutritious food.

The NHS Healthy Start scheme helps to encourage a healthy diet for all pregnant women aged under 18, and for babies and young children under four from low-income households.

Customers in England who use a Healthy Start card when shopping 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.

The supermarket first introduced the £2 top up coupon back in 2021 during the pandemic. It was then reintroduced throughout the winter to provide extra help over the Christmas period.

The £2 coupon was found to have had a significant impact 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.

Rebecca Tobi, senior business and investor engagement manager at the Food Foundation, said: "We know that many families are struggling at the moment as the cost of living crisis intensifies. Our latest data tracking food insecurity in the UK finds that one in four households with children have experienced food insecurity in the past month, with four million children living in households experiencing food insecurity.

"So it’s brilliant to see Sainsbury’s supporting their customers to access a healthy diet. 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 support Healthy Start – either through value add offers or through promoting the scheme to their customers."

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.

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