TESCO shoppers on a low income can soon get free £1 off coupons to spend on fruit and vegetables.
From November 16, 500,000 shoppers who already get Healthy Start vouchers, which is a government scheme for people who are pregnant or families on certain benefits, will get Tesco’s new money-off coupons.
Every time a customer hands over their weekly Healthy Start voucher at a Tesco checkout in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales they will automatically receive the money-off coupon on top.
The coupons will be given out once a week to eligible shoppers at all till types and in all Tesco stores for three months.
You can then redeem the coupons on your next in-store Tesco shop.
In Scotland, Healthy Start vouchers are issued online so Tesco says it will also issue the money off coupons virtually. It will provide more details on how this will work closer to launch.
How to cut the cost of your grocery shop
MONEY.CO.UK has shared some top tips with us to help you keep your supermarket spend down to a minimum.
- Write yourself a list – Only buy items that you need. If it isn’t on your list, don’t put it in the trolley
- Create a budget – Work out a weekly budget for your food shopping
- Never shop hungry – You are far more likely to buy more food if your tummy is rumbling
- Don’t buy pre-chopped veggies or fruit – The extra they’ll charge for chopping can be eye watering
- Use social media – Follow your favourite retailers to find out about the latest deals
- Be disloyal – You may want to go to different stores to find the best bargains
- Check the small print – It’s always worth checking the price per kg/lb/litre when comparing offers so you’re making a like for like decision as a bigger box won’t necessarily mean you get more
- Use your loyalty cards – Don’t be afraid to sign up to them all. They all work slightly differently – work out what bonus suits you better and remember to trade in your points for additional rewards
Coupons can be used by shoppers to purchase any fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables.
Just bear in mind that if you purchase items costing under £1 you won’t get the difference refunded in cash.
Likewise, if you buy fruit and veg worth more than £1 you’ll have to pay the difference.
The coupons are being dished out as part of a campaign against food poverty led by footballer Marcus Rashford.
He is now calling for similar help to be extended to future school holidays, although the government has so far refused to do so leaving many businesses voluntarily picking up the tab for the current October half-term.
Mr Rashford has also teamed up with Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Deliveroo, FareShare, Food Foundation, Iceland, Kellogg’s, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, to form the “Child Food Poverty Task Force”.
The task force is calling for an increase in the value of the Healthy Start vouchers from £3.10 a week to £4.25.
As part of the initiative some retailers have also launched their own schemes, such as Tesco, which follows a similar move by Iceland.
The frozen food specialist has been giving out £1 coupons for frozen vegetables to eligible shoppers since September as part of a trial that will continue until the end of the year.
Supermarket loyalty schemes – which has one?
MOST UK supermarkets have loyalty schemes so customers can build up points and save money while they shop.
Here we round up what saving programmes you’ll find at the big brands.
- Iceland: Unlike other stores, you don’t collect points with the Iceland Bonus Card. Instead, you load it up with money and Iceland will give you £1 for every £20 you save.
- Morrisons: Morrisons’ More gives customers five points per £1 spent in store. When customers earn 5,000 points they receive a £5 voucher.
- Sainsbury’s: While Sainsbury’s doesn’t have a personal scheme, it does own the Nectar card which can also be used in Argos, eBay and other shops. You need 200 Nectar points to save up £1 to spend on your card. You need to spend at least £1 to get one Nectar point.
- Tesco: Tesco Clubcard has over 17million members in the UK alone. You use it each time you shop and build up points that can be turned into vouchers – 150 points gets you a £1.50 voucher. Here you need to spend £1 in Tesco to get one point.
- Waitrose: myWaitrose also doesn’t allow you to collect points but instead you’ll get access to free hot drinks, and discounts off certain brands in store.
How to apply for the Healthy Start scheme
You must be at least 10 weeks pregnant to qualify, or have a child under four years old and be on one of the following benefits:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance (this is only applicable while you are more than ten weeks pregnant, once the child is born you no longer qualify under this benefit)
- Child tax credit with a family income of £16,190 or less a year
- Pension credit
- Universal Credit with no earned income or total earned income of £408 or less a month for the family
Both mums or dads can sign up for the scheme.
Mums-to-be can also qualify if they are under 18 and pregnant, even if they don’t get any benefits.
To apply for the scheme, you need to visit the Healthy Start website.
You can either print off a blank form, or fill out an online application form and then print this off at the end.
You need to fill out Part A carefully in black ink using CAPITAL letters.
But you can leave Part B blank – it involves getting a health professional’s signature, but this requirement was removed in April.
You still need to add in your due date in part B if you are pregnant.
Once you’ve signed and dated the form, put it in an envelope and send it to the below address. There’s no need for a stamp.
Freepost RRTR-SYAE-JKCR, Healthy Start Issuing Unit, PO Box 1067, Warrington WA55 1EG.
Once you get the vouchers, they can be spent in any shop that is registered to take part in the Healthy Start scheme within 12 weeks.
These include corner shops, supermarkets, market stalls, greengrocers, milk floats and pharmacies.
You can use the postcode finder on the Healthy Start website to find your nearest retailer.
What can I spend the vouchers on?
The vouchers can be used to buy whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed cow’s milk.
It must also be pasteurised, sterilised, long-life or ultra-heat treated (UHT).
The vouchers are also valid on infant formula milk that is based on cow’s milk and says on the packaging that it can be used from birth.
They’re also valid for fresh, tinned or frozen fruit and vegetables.
You can’t spend them on fruit or veggies with added ingredients such as fat, salt, sugar or flavourings – including oven chips and battered onion rings.
Dried or tinned pulses, such as lentils and beans, can also be purchased with the vouchers so long as they’ve had no fat, salt, sugar or flavouring added.