Over 20,000 register to access free period products from Lidl

Retailer providing monthly coupons for tampons and sanitary towels through app to combat period poverty

More than 20,000 people have registered to access free period products like tampons and sanitary towels through retailer Lidl from Monday.

The German supermarket chain’s Irish operation is the first major retailer in the world to take such a step to combat period poverty.

The initiative includes a commitment to provide sanitary towels and tampons to the Simon Communities on a quarterly basis.

Since April 19th customers who have downloaded the Lidl Plus app could apply for tokens to get the products free of charge.


In a statement on Sunday, the company said: “Lidl are pleased to confirm that more than 20,000 registered Lidl Plus customers are signed up to receive their first period poverty coupon from tomorrow.

“This includes those who’ve signed up to buy for themselves or someone else, and is open to both men and women as Lidl are cognitive of the fact that the single parents or partners need to be able to purchase these products for the women in their life.

"Our first donations to the Simon Community will be shipped from our warehouses across the country in the coming days also."

Period poverty is defined as the inability to afford safe, hygienic sanitary products. It is an internationally recognised health and social issue and can be both chronic and acute among homeless women.

Government research published in February shows Irish women and girls spend an average of €96.72 per year on period products, and about €121 per year when pain relief was included. Periods last an average of five days per month.

Research carried out by Plan International in Ireland found almost 50 per cent of girls aged between 12 and 19 found it difficult to pay for sanitary products, while one in 10 of those surveyed said they were forced to use a "less suitable sanitary product" because of the high monthly cost.

The research also found 61 per cent of Irish teenage girls felt too embarrassed to talk about their period.

In November Scotland became the first country to legislate to ensure period products were available free to all who needed them.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times