Source: Iceland

The bottles are due to be on Iceland shelves from April

Iceland is hoping to boost uptake of the government’s Healthy Start voucher scheme by promoting it on milk bottles.

The supermarket will ask shoppers “Could you get this milk for free?” on 81 million bottles.

The Healthy Start scheme provides low income expectant mothers or those with a child under four with weekly vouchers for food. Iceland said NHS data shared with the supermarket suggested 130,000 low income families were missing out on the scheme by not claiming.

The milk bottle message says: “If you have young children, check if you are eligible”, and provides the NHS web address for applying.

A parallel campaign in Scotland is promoting its Best Start Foods scheme.

The bottles are due to be on Iceland shelves from April, when the Healthy Start scheme switches from paper vouchers to digital ones provided via a payment card.

Iceland MD Richard Walker said it would “reach millions of homes across the UK with details of the scheme”.

“We understand that many families are facing tougher financial situations than ever as a result of the cost of living crisis,” he said, adding: “I hope this innovative approach will make a real difference to the thousands who don’t realise they are eligible.”

Public health minister Maggie Throup called it “a really innovative way of reminding parents to take part”.

Henry Dimbleby, independent lead of the National Food Strategy, said: “It is fantastic to see Iceland leading the charge with innovative support for such an important scheme. The evidence shows that supporting families with free milk, fruit and veg can meaningfully improve the diets of children when money is tight at home.”

Iceland also plans to promote the voucher scheme on delivery vans, with a QR code to take smartphone users straight to the NHS Healthy Start website.