As part of the National Health Service’s Healthy Start campaign, retail chain Sainsbury’s has begun giving a group of consumers in need an additional £2 every time they check out at their stores.
The scheme is aimed at the half million pregnant women and children across the UK who are considered low-income and hold Healthy Start cards. They will receive vouchers after their shops that they can use toward purchasing fresh, frozen or tinned fruits and vegetables.
This is third time in the past 18 months Sainsbury’s has launched the initiative. It did so twice last year in February and during the run-up to Christmas.
“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,” Ruth Cranston, Director of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at Sainsbury’s, said. “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.”
The campaign will run for the next six months, which also will help families again this year get through the festive period.
Wondering how much of difference this kind of initiative can make in changing consumption of fresh produce? According to a study done by the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics and IGD, consumers who were given the £2 voucher bought 13 more portions of fruit and vegetables per basket compared to those that didn’t. That is significant given that only about 20% of UK shoppers eat at three portions of fresh produce daily, and numbers are even lower for those in low-income positions.
In addition to giving out vouchers to customers, Sainsbury’s staff is working the ground in communities through The Bread and Butter Thing to increase awareness of the NHS Healthy Start initiative. It also has been strongly promoting the Nectar Great Fruit & Veg Challenge, which helps not only boost the profile of produce during the summer but also gives points incentives to those who take part and eat healthy. More than 500,000 shoppers have signed on, leading to 89 million portions sold.
Lke retailers across the UK aware of the heavy burden inflation is placing on families and also the competition brought by deep discounters, Sainsbury’s is making additional commitments to not inflate prices. Its “Quality, Aldi Price Match” includes cauliflower, strawberries, bananas and carrots.