Best Start Foods (BSF)

Best Start Foods (BSF) will provide weekly payments worth £4.25 to eligible families where the mother is pregnant and/or has children aged under three. These payments will be pre-loaded on to a smartcard every four weeks and can be used to purchase a range of healthy foods. To qualify, families must have been awarded at least one of the qualifying benefits.


The Scottish Government has committed to introduce BSF by summer 2019. Once introduced, it will replace the UK Government'ss Healthy Start Vouchers scheme.

 Latest forecast

Forecast expenditure on Best Start Foods - December 2018

£ million 2017-18 Outturn 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24
Healthy Start Vouchers 4.0 3.8 2.0        
Best Start Foods     2.5 4.6 4.4 4.2 4.0
Total 4.0 3.8 4.5 4.6 4.4 4.2 4.0

Source: Scottish Fiscal Commission

Supporting information

Scottish Fiscal Commission (2018) - Scotland's Economic and Fiscal Forecasts December 2018

Scottish Fiscal Commission (2018) Scotland's Economic and Fiscal Forecasts May 2018

Scottish Government Welfare Foods consultation

Scottish Governmet maternal and child health page