Supermarket chain Iceland has announced further support for Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child food poverty by offering free frozen vegetables to families using Healthy Start vouchers.
The Manchester United and England striker was successful in campaigning for free school meal vouchers to be provided to pupils over the summer period.
He has now 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.
Iceland announced on Friday that as part of its support for the campaign it will begin offering a free bag of frozen vegetables worth £1 to shoppers using the Healthy Start vouchers.
Families on certain benefits can use Healthy Start vouchers to help buy basic foods such as milk, fruit and vegetables.
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.”
Iceland said that the frozen vegetables offer will begin on Friday September 11 and the supermarket chain will report its findings back to the Food Foundation, the Government and Rashford.
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.
“We will continue to review our commitment to ensure we are able to support Marcus’s campaign to the fullest possible extent.”
The task force is endorsing three national food strategy policy recommendations including increasing the value of the Healthy Start vouchers from £3.10 per week to £4.25 and extending it to everyone on Universal Credit or equivalent.
The other two are the expansion of free school meals to every child from a household on Universal Credit or equivalent and the expansion of school holiday food and activities programmes to support all children on free school meals.
Henry Dimbleby, independent lead of the independent National Food Strategy and Leon restaurant founder, 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.
“There is a serious danger that this economic downturn will increase 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.”
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