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Sainsbury’s gives ‘Healthy Start’ shoppers £2 weekly voucher

Written by: Rebecca Goodman
Sainsbury’s is giving shoppers who are part of the NHS Healthy Start scheme an extra £2 a week voucher to spend on healthy food items.

The scheme is funded by the government and the money can be used to buy healthy food including fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables.

This is the third time the supermarket has offered the top up to help those who are struggling with the rising cost of living.

The £2 vouchers will be available from Wednesday 12 October for the next six months in England.

Shoppers who are eligible for the vouchers will automatically receive a printed £2 coupon when they check out at a Sainsbury’s superstore, after showing their Healthy Start card. It can then be redeemed at a superstore or smaller convenience shop within three weeks.

The news comes a week after Tesco announced a freeze on the cost of more than 1,000 items to help with the cost-of-living crisis.

‘Times are tough for millions of families’

Sainsbury’s first introduced the £2 top up in 2021 during the February half term. It then reintroduced it last winter for those struggling with rising costs.

The supermarket says as a result of the £2 vouchers, the number of fruit and vegetable portions purchased per customer at the shop significantly increased year on year.

Shoppers with a Healthy Start card also bought 13 more portions of fruit and vegetables compared to those without one.

Ruth Cranston, director of corporate responsibility & 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.”

Help for low-income households

The Healthy Start scheme is available to some households with young children or pregnant women.

It currently pays £4.25 per week to women who are at least 10 weeks pregnant. This is paid until a child turns four.

But between the time a child is born and turns one, the amount is higher and £8.50 per week is available.

The money can be used to buy a range of healthy items. These include fruit and vegetables, fresh, dried or tinned pulses, some vitamins, and cow’s milk or infant formula milk.

The scheme is available to some low-income households receiving a ‘qualifying benefit’. These include Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit (which includes the child addition) and Working Tax Credit.

You can also apply if you are under 18, even if you don’t receive any benefits.

You can apply online, via the Healthy Start website, and those who sign up are given a physical card which is automatically topped up with money every four weeks. The cash stays on the card for up to 16 weeks.

You can use the card at any participating retailer which takes Mastercard, such as a supermarket.

Previously the scheme worked with paper vouchers. If you still have these they can be used, as long as they are in date.

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