Shoppers in Wales and Northern Ireland, who use a Healthy Start card, will now automatically receive a printed coupon every week worth £2 when shopping at Sainsbury’s.
The coupons can be used for purchasing fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables, and are valid until Tuesday 11th April 2023.
The retailer believes the move could help an additional 47,000 pregnant women and children over the coming months.
The roll out follows the retailer's decision last month to re-introduce its £2 coupon over the next six months to customers using a Healthy Start card in England.
'Reduce Health Inequities'
Rebecca Tobi, senior business and investor engagement manager at the Food Foundation said, "Sainsbury’s decision to extend its coupon offer to families in Wales and Northern Ireland will help to reduce health inequities by ensuring that all Healthy Start recipients are eligible for the £2 top-up.
"We know that good nutrition during the first few years of life is critical for healthy growth and development, so it would be great to see other retailers follow Sainsbury's lead and boost their support of the Healthy Start scheme."
The NHS Healthy Start scheme aims to encourage a healthy diet for pregnant women, babies and young children under the age of four from low-income households, Sainsbury's noted.
The Healthy Start cards, provided by the UK government to low-income families, provide pregnant women or families with a child between the age of one and four years with £4.25 a week to use when purchasing milk, fruit or vegetables.
The top-up offered by Sainsbury’s means that families using their Healthy Start card each week in a Sainsbury’s superstore could receive either £6.25 or £10.50 worth of healthy and nutritious food per week.
In 2021, the retailer introduced the £2 top-up coupon to help families during February half term and beyond.
Later, the coupon was re-introduced during Christmas to support those struggling over the festive period.
Ruth Cranston, director of corporate responsibility and sustainability at Sainsbury’s, said, "We know how challenging things are at the moment and as the cost-of-living continues to rise, we’re committed to helping ensure that everyone has access to affordable and nutritious food.
"We are really pleased we can extend our £2 top up for the NHS Healthy Start scheme to eligible customers in Wales and Northern Ireland and hope the additional coupon will provide some relief to many people over the coming months. Through our Nourish the Nation community programme, we remain dedicated to helping tackle food insecurity now and in the future."