• The first of 81 million milk bottles promoting NHS Healthy Start have hit Iceland’s shelves across England, Wales and Northern Ireland with the aim of combatting the cost-of-living crisis by helping families on low incomes access tens of millions of pounds of worth healthy food for free
  • TV presenter Chris Bavin, known for programmes that showcase healthy, affordable food, has supported the launch by delivering free milk to an Action for Children children’s centre, in one-of-three branded campaign vans which are now delivering in neighbourhoods where uptake is low
  • Iceland is the first UK supermarket to use milk bottles to promote a public service with its ‘Could you get this milk for free?’ campaign

Iceland is continuing to support customers through the cost-of-living crisis by promoting the NHS Healthy Start scheme on 81 million bottles across England, Wales and Northern Ireland with its ‘Could you get this milk for free?’ campaign.

The first of the special ‘Could you get this milk for free?’ bottles hit the shelves and breakfast tables up and down the country today with an additional nine million branded milk bottles also supporting Best Start Foods in Scotland.

Iceland launched the campaign with the support of TV presenter Chris Bavin, who delivered free milk and vegetables along with the promise of free milk for the year to the Action for Children centre he visited. Chris is an advocate for healthy, affordable food, and works closely with Action for Children, a UK charity that helps vulnerable children and young people, and their families, to support children living in food poverty.

The delivery was made in one of the wrapped delivery vans, featuring large ‘Could you get this milk for free?’ branding and a QR code, which is also on the larger bottles, linked to the NHS Healthy Start website where people can immediately check their eligibility and apply. These vans will be travelling to neighbourhoods where uptake is low within Manchester and London, to increase awareness and encourage uptake amongst those eligible for the scheme.

Securing full take-up of NHS Healthy Start would lead to tens of millions of pounds worth of additional benefit being administered and Iceland has launched this campaign to help make that happen.

This is Iceland’s latest move in response to the cost of living crisis, which has seen a series of initiatives launched including a £1 price freeze and a trial of ethical credit for groceries. The retailer is encouraging others in the industry to follow suit and also do more to promote the NHS Healthy Start and Social Security Scotland’s Best Start schemes.

Chris Bavin said: “As a Dad, and someone who cares passionately about the difference that healthy food and a balanced diet can make to young children, I was shocked and saddened to discover that so many families are missing out on the NHS Healthy Start support they’re entitled to. The work that Iceland and charities such as Action for Children are doing in letting people know that these benefits are there is incredible and I’m so happy to be able to play a part in highlighting that.

“All children deserve a healthy start in life and getting that message onto milk bottles – and from there onto people’s tables – could be life changing, especially for those struggling most with the current cost of living crisis.”

Sara Gomes, Children’s Service Manager at Action for Children, said “Every day I see the very real struggle that the most vulnerable families are facing as the cost of living crisis worsens.  These are families already dealing with so many issues from poor mental health to supporting a child with additional needs. Signposting parents to the help that is out there is something staff here do every day so we know what a difference Iceland will make sharing this Healthy Start message. Making it so easy for families to access this benefit means more young children enjoying healthier food choices – essential for them to have the best possible start in life. And receiving a donation of a year’s supply of milk is the icing on the cake! It will mean more for us to spend on the children and families we support and for that we’re really grateful.”

Richard Walker, Managing Director of Iceland Foods, said: “I am proud that Iceland is the driving force behind such a simple yet innovative approach to helping low income families access free, healthy food at a time when the cost of living crisis is really hitting home.

“I am eager for Iceland’s efforts over the coming weeks to drive uptake to a higher level than seen before, and by helping to promote this important scheme on Iceland milk bottles, I really hope we can help those in need during this difficult time.”

Iceland will be looking at ways to make this activity bigger and better in the coming months and will soon have a dedicated webpage supporting NHS Healthy Start and Best Start. It will also be promoting the schemes with in store posters, social activity and a newsletter update to all Bonus Card customers.

The NHS Healthy Start scheme helps eligible low-income families buy milk, fruit and vegetables, pulses and baby formula, and access free Healthy Start vitamins. For more information on NHS Healthy Start visit: https://www.healthystart.nhs.uk/.

For more information on Best Start Foods visit: https://www.mygov.scot/best-start-grant-best-start-foods/

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