M&S Food has announced it is partnering with the Irish FA to use the power of football to help families make healthier eating choices as part of its Eat Well, Play Well campaign.
In a first of its kind, the multi-year-deal sees M&S Food, the Irish FA and Northern Ireland football teams shining a light on what players eat to help inspire families to eat healthier this summer and beyond.
By using the influence of Northern Irish footballing heroes, the partners aim to make healthy eating choices easier for families but also show that healthy and balanced doesn’t have to be quinoa and kale; it can actually be fun and tasty.
The partnership comes at a time when health is high on the nation’s agenda, with 53% of Northern Irish people concerned about family health - 40%** share concerns about getting nutritious food into their diets.
Over the last few years, M&S Food has invested significantly in making its ranges, including Eat Well, better value, while protecting its market-leading sourcing standards and delicious, innovative products.
The partnership is packed with initiatives from in-store exclusives where budding sports stars can find out their favourite players’ recipes and eating plans, to unprecedented online insight on players, managers and legends sharing their favourite Eat Well products.
“Nutrition in football has come a long way since I was a player in the late 80s and 90’s; our post-match meal was less sophisticated than it is today,” said Ian Baraclough, Northern Ireland senior team men’s manager.
“Our current players are put on specific programmes to give them the best possible fuel for matches and to help them recover after the game so very different to my day.
“Our players are such icons in Northern Ireland and I think this partnership with M&S Food and Eat Well will help give the budding footballers of the future a real insight into what their heroes are eating and inspire them to eat and train the very best they can.”
Stuart Machin, CEO of M&S, said: “Today I’ll be writing to all our customers about this partnership and our aim to make a real difference to health and inspire the next generation.
“By harnessing the influence of the players as role models, we want to encourage children and families to make healthier food choices through choosing Eat Well.
“We have nearly 2,000 delicious Eat Well products across our Food Hall, from great quality fruit and vegetables to meals, snack and drinks, all at trusted value. We’re constantly developing and improving our ranges, to give our customers delicious, healthier choices every day.”
Nicola Finlay, regional manager Northern Ireland, said: “Our work with the Irish FA is much more than a sponsorship, we want to help change the health of the nation and the first step is to further increase the number of products with the Eat Well flower and make it easier for customers to spot them.
“Shoppers in Northern Ireland will be able to pick up specific national recipe cards in store so they can replicate their favourite player meals at home – whether that is breakfast, lunch or dinner. Budding stars can even find out what Eat Well products Northern Ireland players consume at training camps.”