Healthy FoodWhat to buy with the vouchers

There are lots of great foods you can buy with your Healthy Start vouchers:


This must be plain cow’s milk and can be whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed. It must also be pasteurised, sterilised, long-life or ultra-heat treated (UHT).

You can’t spend your vouchers on flavoured milk, coloured milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, goat’s milk, soya milk, powdered milk (unless it’s infant formula) or milk with anything added to it such as milkshakes or vitamin-enriched milk.

Fruit and vegetables

This means any kind of 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.

You can’t spend your vouchers on dried or pre-cooked fruit and vegetables, or on smoothies.


This means any kind of 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.

Infant formula milk

This must be infant formula milk that is based on cow’s milk and says on the packaging that it can be used from birth.

You can’t spend your vouchers on infant formulas that are not based on cow’s milk – such as soya formulas and goat’s milk formulas – or on any follow-on formulas that say on the packaging that they are for babies aged six months or older.

Change in packaging for infant formula

You may have noticed a change in the packaging for some brands of infant formula, where some nutritionally complete infant formula (stage one formula) previously labelled as suitable ‘from birth’ or ‘from birth to 12 months’ is now labelled as suitable ‘from birth to 6 months’.

Healthy Start vouchers can only be used to buy nutritionally complete stage one formula which is suitable from birth. This means that you cannot use your vouchers to purchase follow-on formula.

For infants aged between 6 to 12 months, some brands are promoting follow-on formula, to support an infant’s development as part of a balanced diet. Research shows that switching to follow-on formula at 6 months has no benefits for your baby. Your baby can continue to have first infant formula as their main drink until they are one year old. If you change formula milk, there’s no evidence to suggest that switching to a different formula does any good or harm. However, if you think a particular brand of formula disagrees with your baby, or you have questions about which formula would best meet the needs of your baby, talk to a midwife or health visitor. They can help you decide whether to try a different type.

For more information about formula milk visit


Using Healthy Start Vouchers FAQs:

How quickly will I receive my Healthy Start vouchers?

Within two weeks of your application being approved; after that vouchers are sent out every four weeks. If you have not heard from the Issuing Unit within two weeks please call the helpline on 0845 607 6823.

My local shop/supermarket won’t take my Healthy Start vouchers as they want me to use contactless payments

We have reminded retailers how important it is that they still accept Healthy Start vouchers. If you continue to have a problem then please let us know by calling the Healthy Start helpline on 0345 607 6823, telling us which shop and where you are.

Why can’t I use my Healthy Start vouchers for online shopping?

Healthy Start vouchers must be used in shops registered with Healthy Start scheme – they can’t be processed online). Over 21,000 retail outlets are registered across the UK, including many independent local shops and pharmacies. You can check here which shops in your area are registered.

When I go supermarket shopping, I can’t find any infant formula milk? What am I supposed to do?

We know this is a concern. The Government and manufacturers are working together to ensure infant formula continues to reach the shops. The manufacturers recently published a letter about how they were responding to the current situation and to remind customers to be considerate when shopping so that there is enough for everyone. You can see their letter here . You can also use your Healthy Start vouchers in smaller local shops and pharmacies that are registered with the scheme. You can check here which shops in your area are registered.

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