Frozen food giant Iceland has been working hard to help their customers in any way possible to combat the cost of living crisis as food prices soar. We recently wrote about the chain giving 40,000 pensioners across the country £30 vouchers to spend on essentials within their stores.
Now, Iceland are partnering with charity-owned lender Fair for You to support customers with rising food costs. The Iceland Food Club is a new nationally available, affordable and flexible credit solution for daily essentials.
Iceland have said the Food Club is the result of the supermarket’s dedication to their customers. They want to ensure they are able to navigate the extortionate cost of living and avoid food poverty. They are also determined to help customers smooth out their income. This scheme launches today across the UK.
The Iceland Food Club initiative was the brainchild of Iceland Colleagues. Many wanted to support children who were at risk of hunger due to food poverty, a new reality so many people face. During the pilot phase of this new scheme, 5,000 customers were provided with micro-loans of between £25 and £100 to spend on their food essentials within Iceland stores.
With research by Iceland showing approximately 8.4 million people in the UK are going hungry, this scheme comes at a time where it is needed more than ever. Similarly, 9 million families who receive benefits will be £500 in real terms compared to last year due to increased inflation, the highest inflation rates the UK has seen for over 40 years.
As the result of this pilot scheme, the Centre for Responsible Credit undertook an independent assessment. Their finding showed a whopping 92% of customers had either stopped or reduced their foodbank use. 71% said they were more able to pay for food and other essentials. The same percentage said as a result of this, they were less likely to fall behind on rent, council tax and other bills. There was also an 80% reduction in the number of customers who used loan sharks.
There were also changes to people’s physical and mental health. Almost two-thirds of customers (67%) said their diet had improved too. 57% also said they felt less ‘stressed, anxious and depressed’ about their finances.
How do the loans work? The Iceland Food Club loans are made available on a pre-loaded card. Repayments are set at £10 per week. Customers can choose which day of the week they want to make their repayments. This makes it more flexible and easier for customers to choose the day which suits them best.
Loans will also be interest free, something Iceland have said they are fully invested in. The pilot scheme saw a small amount of interest being paid on loans. This has been abolished for the national rollout.