Despite a drop in most household costs, food is bucking the trend. In March, UK grocery prices rose at a record pace, adding £837 to the average household’s annual bill. To put that figure in context, food prices are now an eye wateringly 9% higher than they were a year ago.
This isn’t a one-off inflationary blip - surging food prices will continue for some time, as Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium warns, “Shop price inflation has yet to peak”. It’s unwelcome news for employees after two years of tightening their belts, shopping at the cheapest stores, and swapping brands for supermarket labels.
For employers committed to supporting employees through the cost-of-living crisis, the message is clear. This crisis is far from over. All employees are feeling the pinch of rising food costs. Some, especially those on lower wages are visiting food banks or eating one meal a day in order to feed their children.
Added to which, hybrid working has impacted the usual ways that employers support staff wellbeing and healthy eating. Remote workers aren’t in the office to use the organisation’s free or subsidised canteen or for the weekly free fruit drop.
This means, employers that want to show they understand, and support employees need a way to get money into employee’s pockets, quickly and securely. The other challenge is to ensure any financial support given is ringfenced for food. Households on tighter budgets will prioritise paying rent/mortgage, energy, and council tax bills over food.
Edenred has over 40 years’ experience delivering solutions that address these issues not just for private businesses. We work with public sector organisations and charities to deliver public and social programmes. Here’s how our solutions work.
Our digital platform Select, enables employers and councils to easily send or download eCodes that recipients can swap for a huge range of eGift cards. Although the platform includes over 100 brands, including travel, leisure, fashion and homeware, access can be limited to Select Grocery and Select Eat.
Select Grocery - provides recipients with a set amount of money to spend at any supermarket signed up to the programme. Most major UK supermarkets are part of the programme providing users with maximum choice.
Select Eat - In addition to supermarkets, recipients can spend their eGift card at a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and food delivery services.
The platform is simple for the organisation and recipient to use. The organisation sets an amount and frequency to transfer money to recipients. This can be a one off or ongoing payment. Recipients are sent a personalised email or letter, containing an eCode. The letter tells them how much the code is worth and how to download the eGift card – an online voucher. They select the supermarket or eatery they wish to shop at and how much of the voucher they want to spend there. The eGift card is then emailed to them within 24 hours.
The digital end-to-end journey is perfect for a hybrid workforce and means employers avoid the risks and costs of physical distribution. Employers can easily add their own brand identify and personalise letters to communicate key messages of support to employees. The platform also means organisations can track and report on spend and user engagement.
Is a prepaid, reloadable, MasterCard that recipients can use at a wide range of eateries. Ticket Restaurant Plus can also be used at all major supermarkets. The card can be branded and personalised so that the user is reminded of their employer’s support each time they use the card.
As with Select, Ticket Restaurant is simple to use. Edenred does the administration, so you simply tell us who you would like to receive a card and what value of funds to load onto it. We add the requested funds and post the new card to your recipients. We also send activation details for PIN retrieval. Once the cardholder has retrieved their PIN via Edenred’s easy-to-use automated phone service, they can spend the funds within the approved network straight away. You can reload the same cards with funds at any time.
If you’d like to discuss how your organisation can support employees with the cost of food, call our friendly sales team on 0207 932 9745 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s no minimum spend, and we have the knowledge and experience to provide additional support for more complex, large scale programmes.
Robert Moody, Head of Prepaid Card Services, Edenred.