A Public Health Transition Briefing written by Julie Davis, Project Support Officer and Karen Saunders, Senior Public Health Manager
The Healthy Start scheme, which currently provides low-income families with vouchers that can be exchanged for fresh fruit,
fresh vegetables and milk, is to be extended to include frozen fruit and vegetables.
This move follows a recent UK-wide public consultation in which 90% of respondents agreed that plain frozen fruit and
vegetables, such as frozen peas and carrots, should be added to the scheme.
It is hoped that this added flexibility in how people in the Healthy Start scheme will be able to spend their vouchers
will encourage low-income families to eat more fruit and vegetables.
Healthy Start families will have more choice about how to get the best value from their vouchers, with frozen fruit and
vegetables often a more economical choice. The frozen varieties are also often more widely available making them easier
Between 8 October and 31 December 2010, the Department of Health and the Devolved Administrations carried out a joint
public consultation on Healthy Start.
Almost 2,400 organisations and individuals responded either to the formal consultation questions or to simpler on-line
surveys that targeted beneficiaries, health professionals and retailers.
Responses showed overwhelming support for this amendment, with 90% of all respondents agreeing and a further 6% saying
it might be a good idea.
You can find a summary of the full consultation findings, and the UK Government response to them, at the link below.
What Happens Next
Adding plain frozen fruit and vegetables to Healthy Start requires a change to regulations across the UK. Amendment
regulations are therefore being laid in every UK country, and will come into force simultaneously on 6 April 2011.
Between now and mid March, scheme information and guidance materials for beneficiaries and retailers will be revised.