The Hundred: New cricket competition condemned for promoting junk food to children

Health advocacy groups have condemned the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after the kits for their new competition, The Hundred, were revealed.

Each of the eight teams in the competition will wear a kit designed to resemble the packet of a snack sold by “official team partner” KP Nuts, with the brand name prominent on the front of each kit.

The tournament has been created in an attempt to appeal to children and families and grow the game of cricket, but campaign groups have argued that promoting these brands in such a manner could have an adverse effect, particularly on children.

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“Junk food brands’ sponsorship of popular sporting events is just another way they make sure their unhealthy products take centre stage in children’s minds,” Caroline Cerny of the Obesity Health Alliance said in a statement.

“We know that the relentless exposure to junk food marketing that children today are exposed to influences their food choices and how much they eat.”


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A new format of cricket, The Hundred begins next summer with each side facing sixteen overs of five balls and then a final ten balls delivered from one end, with organisers hoping this simplifies the game for new viewers.

The eight new franchises will be based in seven cities, with men’s and women’s sides at each location. Yesterday saw the unveiling of the identities of these eight teams, with the first players assigned to their sides.

Each side had their kit and logo revealed at the event, leading to the criticism of the prominent branding.

KP Snacks said they recognised they had a responsibility to provide people with healthier snacking choices, adding that they had reduced the amount of salt content in their core products.

“We believe that snacks can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise,” a KP Snacks spokeswoman told Reuters.

“We have also reformulated existing recipes and introduced new lower salt products.”

The ECB said the partnership with the snacks brand was an opportunity to use their “unprecedented reach” to grow the game.

“We agree it’s critical to promote this partnership responsibly and we’ll use our own platform… to educate and promote health, activity and balance as a core message,” an ECB spokesperson told Reuters in an email.

“As part of our partnership, we’ll get the opportunity to tap into their platform to engage with our core cricket fans, wider sports fans and families who we’re targeting as part of The Hundred.”

Tam Fry, the chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said the United Kingdom should follow the example of the city of Amsterdam that put an end to sports sponsorship by similar companies, which eventually led to a fall in obesity levels.

“The ECB could have found any number of rich philanthropic organisations to fund its laudable objectives,” Fry told Reuters.

“Sadly it didn’t, with the result that our children will shortly see their heroes turned into advertising hoardings. (It’s) quite irresponsible and unbelievably sad.”

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