Earlier this month, it was announced that Iceland is part of the Child Poverty Task Force, formed by Marcus Rashford campaigning to end child food poverty in the UK.
From today (11 September), Iceland will offer free frozen vegetables to families using Healthy Start Vouchers in its stores across England, Wales and Northern Ireland until the end of the year. The free veg, worth £1, will boost the value of the vouchers ensuring families have easy access to great value, nutritious food.
In Scotland, families will receive the same offer of free frozen veg when they spend £4.25 or more on a Best Start Foods card.
Iceland’s move comes after Marcus Rashford called on the Government to implement three of the policy recommendations of the National Food Strategy, including increasing the value of Healthy Start Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25. Iceland’s initiative will add value to the scheme while the Government considers the improvements it will make through policy changes.
Marcus Rashford said: “My hope on forming the Child Food Poverty Task Force was that it would ignite conversation relating to the issue – why is this happening? How is this happening? And, are we really doing everything we can to help? Iceland’s new initiative grew out of that conversation and it really shows how the simplest step can have impact.”
Frozen veg offers the nutritional value of fresh veg but also helps to reduce waste and lasts longer, helping families manage their budgets whilst ensuring they have healthy food to hand.
Henry Dimbleby, Head of the independent National Food Strategy, said: “It is brilliant that Iceland have taken this step to help children get more fruit and veg into their diets. What a great example of how a supermarket can help low-income households eat well. Eating well in childhood is the very foundation stone of equality of opportunity. There is a serious danger that this economic downturn will increases hunger and poor diet, and leave a lasting scar on the bodies and prospects of our young children.
“I urge the Government to follow suit by increasing the value of Healthy Start Vouchers to £4.25 a week and offering them to all pregnant women and parents and carers on universal credit with children under four.”
Following the implementation of the initiative, Iceland will report findings and learnings back to the Food Foundation, which is working to support the implementation of the National Food Strategy recommendations, Government Ministers and Marcus himself in the hope that this will encourage the Government to accept the pressing need to increase the value of, and extend the entitlement, to Healthy Start Vouchers.
Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland Foods, said: “We are proud to stand alongside Marcus Rashford as he continues this vital campaign, and we understand the pressing need to help from our interactions with millions of customers each week. We were keen to implement initiatives as soon as possible, without waiting for the Government to respond, which is why we have introduced our frozen vegetable offer.
“At Iceland we have a long history of supporting our local communities and offering great quality, low cost food to help families across the country. We will continue to review our commitment to ensure we are able to support Marcus’ campaign to the fullest possible extent.”
For more information on Healthy Start Vouchers visit: https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/.
For more information on Best Start Foods visit: https://www.mygov.scot/best-start-grant-best-start-foods/