Sainsbury's seasonings

Source: Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s will donate a range of ingredients to food hub members across Greater Manchester

Sainsbury’s is to distribute free herbs and seasonings to food club members in Manchester, under the latest initiative of its partnership with charity The Bread & Butter Thing.

Throughout May, the ‘Seasonings Shuttle Service’ will provide a range of fresh and dried ingredients including parsley and fresh chillis to around 1,600 visitors to mobile food banks run by The Bread & Butter Thing (TBBT) across Greater Manchester.

The initiative – which is run as part of Sainsbury’s long-running Nourish the Nation campaign with Comic Relief – aims to tackle what Sainsbury’s called “meal monotony”, whereby people who struggle to afford for food often go without seasonings or spices, making mealtimes bland and unexciting.

Sainsbury’s commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK households who said they were struggling to pay their bills. Seventy-six per cent of respondents said they cut herbs and spices from their shopping baskets to save money. Sixty-nine per cent said they wanted to add more excitement to mealtimes.

The ingredients will be distributed via TBBT’s network of food clubs. It includes a selection of dried herbs like oregano and basil, as well as aromatic spices like garam masala and smoked paprika. Fresh ingredients including garlic, ginger and chilli will also be on offer, with members also able to select a range of jarred ingredients to take home.

“We hope that the Seasonings Shuttle will make mealtimes more varied and enjoyable for The Bread & Butter Thing’s members, helping them to stock up on herbs and spices so they can create more flavoursome and fulfilling dishes for many meals to come,” said Sainsbury’s director of corporate responsibility and sustainability Ruth Cranston.

“With herbs and spices often getting left off shopping lists due to needing to prioritise other items, we wanted to create an initiative that supports our belief that everyone should have access to tasty and diverse food.”

It comes as supermarkets look to step up their efforts to counter growing levels of food poverty, as food and energy costs have soared over the last couple of years. The rate of food inflation fell to its lowest level since March 2022, according to the latest BRC-NielsenIQ shop price index. However, at 3.4% it remains significantly higher than the years previous.

“It should come as no surprise that the cost of living crisis has forced many UK households to reassess food priorities, with staples coming first and the nice-to-haves like herbs and spices being scrapped,” said The Bread & Butter Thing CEO Mark Game.

“Food is one of life’s joys and everyone deserves good grub without having to sacrifice nutrition or taste.”

The charity runs food clubs and food redistribution networks in 120 low-income communities around the UK, 54 of which are located in Greater Manchester. Sainsbury’s is one of several supermarkets and manufacturers to partner with the network.

In March, Sainsbury’s released a new awareness campaign that used spoken word poetry to highlight the stigma faced by food club and food bank users. Poet Yrsa Daley-Ward interviewed members of the Bonny Downs Food Club in East Ham, and used their experiences to inspire the poem.