Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)


Does your business qualify for Healthy Start?

If you’re a retailer, this page provides information and advice about joining and operating the Healthy Start scheme.

Healthy Start cards are now replacing the Healthy Start vouchers. Beneficiaries will stop receiving vouchers once they complete the online application. They can still use their Healthy Start vouchers until their expiry date.

To accept Healthy Start card payments, your retail outlet will need to accept Mastercard® and have a card payment facility allowing chip and pin, or contactless payments.  The voucher scheme will run alongside the card scheme until it ends in March 2022. If you want to accept vouchers, you will have to register your business.

You can register to accept Healthy Start vouchers if you:

  • sell any of the foods that are included in the scheme
  • have not in the past been disqualified from Healthy Start, or the former Welfare Food (milk token) scheme

Retailers can take part in Healthy Start if they sell:

  • plain liquid cow’s milk – it can be pasteurised, sterilised long-life or UHT
  • fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables including loose, pre-packed, whole, sliced, chopped, or mixed fruit or vegetables, fruit in fruit juice, or fruit or vegetables in water, but not those to which fat, salt, sugar, or flavouring have been added
  • cow’s milk-based infant formula milk – this must be labelled as suitable for use from birth and satisfy, by itself, an infant’s nutritional needs
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses, including but not limited to lentils, beans, peas, and chickpeas but not those to which fat, salt, sugar, or flavouring have been added

If you’re a retailer wanting to take part in the Healthy Start scheme with vouchers

Many different kinds of businesses can register for Healthy Start, including grocers, milkmen, food co-operatives, newsagents, box schemes, market stalls and supermarkets. As long as your business sells one or more of the Healthy Start foods, you can register to take part.

Go to the Healthy Start retailer website for more information about joining and taking part in the Healthy Start scheme (opens in a new tab).

The paper voucher scheme is ending in March 2022.

How to register

  1. Download and complete the online application form (opens in a new tab).
  2. Once you have completed the application form you must then print and sign it.
  3. Send it to us at:

Barberton House
Farndon Road
LE16 9NR

We can only register you if you send us a signed application form.

Once you have been accepted to join the scheme, we will send you a registration pack.

The pack contains a:

  • supplier guide
  • window sticker
  • quick reference guide
  • claim/remittance form
A pharmacist takes an item off a shelf

Free Healthy Start vitamins

You can get free vitamins for you and your child with your Healthy Start card

A child with knife and fork in hand about to eat a plate of vegetables

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions that people may have about the Healthy Start scheme

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