Teens campaign for The Hundred to end their sponsorship deal with snack brand
The young people of Bite Back 2030 are calling out the hypocrisy of a brand selling food high in salt and fat sponsoring a tournament designed to introduce new young fans to cricket at a time when the health of one in three children in the UK is at risk from overweight or obesity.
Bite Back 2030, a youth-led movement campaigning for a healthier food system, want food and drink brands like KP Snacks, Coca Cola and Red Bull to #PacketIn and stop using sport to sell unhealthy products.
They’re calling on people to sign a petition demanding the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) find a new sponsor for next year’s Hundred and commit to pushing junk food off the sporting stage. Instead, they want to see sport using its influence to give healthy options a starring role in children’s minds.
Bite Back Youth Member Jacob Rosenberg, 17, said children are seeing cricket players “running around like a bag of crisps”, as stars wear shirts emblazoned with brands such as Hula Hoops, Tyrells and McCoys.
Ironically, the ECB claim the sport is “uniquely placed” to help tackle obesity, especially in children.
Jacob agrees but says a lot needs to change for that to happen:
"Sports teams are so incredibly influential to young people and it annoys me that teams could use their power to promote child health yet don’t. It disappoints me that The Hundred are dressing their players in bright colours with unhealthy sponsors and essentially making them look like bags of crisps — especially when they’ve explicitly said they’re targeting young people."
The following statistics show the extent to which profit is being put before health:
- £4MILLION -- Value of the KP sponsorship over a 5 year period
- 20,000 -- number of tickets sold to under-16s out of the Hundred’s first 100,000 sales
- 10.5 million -- number of new audience members ECB projects could be attracted to cricket through a new format and outreach to “young people, sporty families and diverse communities”
- 1,887,647 -- number of YouTube views of Hundred’s (heavily branded) launch ad
Tellingly, the ECB has removed all snack logos from the children’s kits in a nod to respecting child health, but it’s a useless gesture as the adult shirts are the ones worn by athletes and broadcast all around the UK.
The Hundred’s sponsorship deal with KP Snacks faced backlash from health leaders and Government officials when it was first announced in 2019, including NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens who said “with a poor diet now a bigger risk factor for ill health than smoking, it is disappointing … when for example you see the English cricket board doing a deal with junk food aimed at children.”
The then Sports Minister, Nigel Adams, also raised concerns with the ECB chairman, and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said junk food advertising within sport was harming efforts to combat childhood obesity.
Ending the sponsorship deal would set an example to other sports and send a clear message to corporate sponsors - that there is no place in sport for junk food advertising.