Best Start Foods

3 mins read

This advice applies in Scotland only.

Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that you can use to buy healthy foods for children under three.

In this article

What is Best Start Foods?

Best Start Foods is a prepaid card that you can use to buy healthy foods for children under three. This includes milk, first infant formula, fresh fruit and vegetable, pulses and fresh eggs. You can use the card in shops and online. You can apply for Best Start Foods when you’re pregnant, or at any time up to your child turning three years old.

How much are the payments of Best Start Foods?

This depends on your child’s age. You will get:

  • £21.20 every four weeks during pregnancy.
  • £42.40 every four weeks from your child being born up until they’re a one year old.
  • £21.20 every four weeks between the ages of one and three.

Do I need to be out of work?

No, you can qualify for Best Start Foods whether or not you are working. However, you or your partner normally need to be getting a ‘qualifying benefit’. This means you must be getting one of the following benefits:

  • Income support.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s allowance.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Pension Credit.
  • Universal Credit and earn no more than £726 a month in either of the last two complete monthly assessment periods.
  • Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit) with annual income of £18,725 or less.
  • Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit with an annual income of £8,717 or less.
  • Housing Benefit with a weekly income of £358 or less.

If you are aged under 18 you can get a grant even if you are not on a qualifying benefit and no matter what income you have. If you are a parent aged 18 or 19 and someone else still gets benefits for looking after you as a dependent, you can get a grant so long as the person who cares for you is receiving Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or Pension Credit for you as part of their family.

How do I claim Best Start Foods?

To claim you can apply online, download a paper claim form from or phone Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222 (8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday). If you’re a British Sign Language user, you can use the contactSCOTLAND app to contact Social Security Scotland by video relay.

If you are entitled to Best Start foods, you can also receive free healthy start vitamins, which are distributed by regional health boards in Scotland – ask your health visitor, midwife or GP for more information.