Tesco pitches in to help 500,000 Healthy Start customers with free fruit, veg
Photo courtesy of Tesco

Tesco pitches in to help 500,000 Healthy Start customers with free fruit, veg

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Starting on Nov. 16, UK retailer Tesco will be giving a half million customers who use Healthy Start vouchers a £1 coupon to spend on fresh or frozen produce.

The supermarket chain says it is trying to expand the healthy eating habits of its customers through the winter and during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also says it is being urged by Marcus Rashford’s Child Poverty Task Force to increase the value of the Healthy Start vouchers to £4.25 per week from £3.10. 

“We all have a role to play in the community and I’m thrilled that another one of the Taskforce members has proactively stepped up to support our most vulnerable in their time of need,” Rashford, the Manchester United star, said. “Increasing the value of the Healthy Start vouchers is a key ask of this Task Force but in the true spirit of togetherness, and with true understanding of need, Tesco has not waited for action but, instead, has taken action. I’m extremely grateful as this move will make a big difference to the lives of nearly 500,000.” 

The scheme works like this: Consumers who use Healthy Start, designed to improve the health of low-income pregnant women and underprivileged families, receive vouchers each week for essential items such as fruits and vegetable. Each time a customer presents vouchers at checkout, they will get a coupon to redeem off their next shop. 

In addition to the coupons, Tesco said it will donate a further £4 million of food to charity FareShare.

“Demand for food has more than doubled at FareShare as a result of the pandemic and 90% of the charities we serve expect demand to remain the same as crisis levels or increase through the winter,” Lindsay Boswell, chief executive at FareShare, said. “That’s why we are so grateful to Tesco for helping us to support families in need and the extensive support they are offering which will make a big difference to so many people’s lives during the tough winter months ahead.” 

Tesco has made food donations worth more than £60m in the past year, which has included £15m of food to FareShare and the Trussell Trust.    

“Right now, many families are facing hardship as a result of the pandemic and we want to help by providing nutritious food to those who need it,” Jason Tarry, Tesco UK & ROI CEO, said. “In addition to topping up the Healthy Start vouchers by £1 each week, we’re providing an extra £4m of food to FareShare in the run up to Christmas, on top of our regular monthly food donations, to support food banks and community groups with vital supplies at a time when so many people are relying on them.” 

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