Tesco shoppers in Wales called to help raise vital funds for food allergy charity.

Generous shoppers in Wales are being encouraged to help an in-store fundraising campaign from Monday 22nd to Sunday 28th April to support medical research into food allergies.

For the fifth year running, Tesco is working with The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, the UK’s food allergy charity, to help raise awareness and support clinical research into food allergies by contributing 10p from every own brand Free From product bought in stores and online, as well as providing customers with the opportunity to round up their shopping at self-service tills throughout the week.

All money raised will help Natasha’s Foundation to continue its research into reducing the risks of food allergies and further developments into the management of allergies.

In addition to the funds being raised, the campaign aims to increase awareness in Wales about the importance of understanding food allergies and clearly highlighting ingredients in food which can cause allergic reactions.

Natasha’s Foundation was founded in 2019 by Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse following the tragic loss of their daughter Natasha who had a fatal allergic reaction to a baguette that contained sesame seeds that were not listed on the packaging.

Tanya Ednan-Laperouse OBE, said: “We’re thrilled that Tesco is supporting us for the fifth year running. Allergen awareness is so important, and money raised in previous years has helped to fund clinical research exploring the management of food allergies.”

Oonagh Turnbull, Head of Health Campaigns at Tesco, said: “The work that Natasha’s Foundation has done to date has been fantastic and we are delighted to be able to support this for a fifth year.

“There are now 175 products in our Free From range, from meals and desserts to snacks, all created with great taste but without any of the allergens. We welcome any shoppers in Wales to try these products or kindly round up their shopping at the self-service tills to help raise money for a fantastic cause.”

Natasha’s Foundation is committed to raising awareness and funds for critical food allergy research. But the real impact of the charity’s work lies in the lives it can change.

Millions of people live with food allergies in the UK and must navigate a world where seemingly simple acts, like grabbing a quick bite to eat, can become fraught with danger. It can affect anyone, at any age.

Billie Hoque, a commercial manager for a maritime security company, from Luton, has three allergic children – Jess, aged 7, Jude, 4, and Jayde, three months.

Billie, 35, said: “Food allergies first entered our lives when my son Jess was born in February 2017. From birth, Jess was presenting symptoms of allergies, yet I didn’t know it at the time. His constant discomfort and breathing troubles led to numerous doctor visits only to be dismissed as new-mum worries, and I felt unheard and alone.

“The switch from breastmilk to formula was a turning point. After initial acceptance, Jess refused all feeds for three days. When he finally ate, he became violently ill and struggled to breathe. Calls to an emergency doctor offered little help, and when he was prescribed “thicker milk” it triggered a terrifying reaction. This was his first anaphylactic reaction, and the first time the doctor diagnosed him as having a severe milk protein allergy.

“The loneliness and isolation I felt from becoming an allergy parent were all-consuming. The family and friends who I had been closest to, quickly became the ones who made me feel the most alone. They didn’t understand or seem to take seriously what I was going through.

Billie continued: “Life changed for me in June 2021 when I found The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation. I found a community – parents united by the fight for awareness. Meeting Nadim and Tanya, who lost their daughter Natasha to allergies, laid bare the heartbreaking truth of this condition. Yet, their strength resonated deeply.

“Though every single allergy story and experience shared through Natasha’s Foundation was different, the community all had one thing in common; we understood the fear, the loneliness, and the exhaustion of the continuous battling needed to keep our children alive. This community transformed me. No longer alone, I found strength and inspiration among these incredible people.

“Today, my purpose is clear. With this supportive network and a collective voice, we can raise awareness and fight for a future free from food allergies. This journey not only saved my sons, but it has also saved me too. I’d urge everyone to support the fantastic work of The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation and their goal of making food allergies history through research and raising awareness of food allergies.

“Tesco’s Free From range offers my children a chance to be included in all the tasty treats other children enjoy. Their clear labelling on the front of the packaging is not only helpful to me but is easy enough for my 7-year-old to clearly see that a food is safe for him. This limits the anxiety he has around eating new foods.”