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We all know we should eat healthily most of the time (with occasional treats) but is it just me, or is knowing what the right choices are a bit complicated? Should I look for low fat? Or low carb? Or is high protein the way to go? Oh, better remember to check salt levels, And sugar. What about my fibre? Aaaaaagggghhhhhhh.

Well, at M&S Food, we’re on a mission - to make it easy for families to make healthy choices. And healthy choices that are so delicious, the kids are still going to love eating them. 

We are going to use the power of football, the most popular sport in the UK, to bring this alive in the most engaging way ever!

It’s why I’m thrilled to announce the launch of our new multi-year and first of its kind partnership with the home nations Football Associations (FAs). The Eat Well Play Well campaign is all about helping families eat healthily, from my hometown of Stirling to Strabane, from Swansea to Southampton, and encouraging children to follow in the footsteps of their footballing heroes.

Back in 2005, we launched our Eat Well flower health seal of approval to make it as easy as possible for customers to spot healthy choices in store. Seventeen years later, our Eat Well flower is on almost 2,000 delicious products, from sandwiches to fruit and vegetables, through to our newly launched healthy ready meals.  Every product with the Eat Well flower has a health benefit and supports a balanced diet so you can feel confident you’re making a healthy and choice.  And the best bit, because it’s M&S, you can be sure that it will taste delicious too.

Now we want to go even further. Football can be a game-changer – it influences and inspires us all. We want to harness that energy and enthusiasm to get football fans and the whole of the UK involved in our healthy eating mission.

Our Eat Well flower will feature on the England men and women’s teams training kits, with the women’s team debuting their new training kit next week.

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We also have an activity-packed Summer coming up. Our footballing stars from the England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland football teams, are picking their favourite Eat Well products, and our M&S chefs are busy recreating healthy Eat Well recipes of the player’s favourite meals, which customers can recreate at home.

Reaching that 5 a day goal can be tricky, so we’re launching a brand-new marketing campaign including free fruit for kids across all stores from the Summer holidays. Kids will be able to choose from a free apple, banana or easy peeler.

We want kids to be inspired by their footballing heroes so players will be trying our Eat Well products and choosing their favourites as well as taking part in a new social media challenge, which is a lot of fun!

For those customers who might need a bit more motivation – this August, there’ll be a very special competition for Sparks customers, with exciting once in a lifetime prizes on offer. Keep your eyes peeled for that.

All of England teams across the Men’s, Women’s, youth and disability teams will also benefit from an extra special smoothie bar at their training camp at St George’s Park, where players can get fresh Eat Well smoothies packed full of nutrients whenever they want. Gareth Southgate was the first to try what’s on offer - see here for a preview!

Now is the perfect time to launch Eat Well Play Well. Not only will the whole nation be getting behind the England and Northern Ireland teams in the Women’s Euros, we will also then be supporting England and whoever else qualifies in the Men’s World Cup this year.

We want to be more relevant to families, and know they care deeply about their health. Our upcoming Family Matters Index reveals that 53% of families are planning to eat more healthily this Summer, and a third (33%) are concerned about getting enough nutritious food.

We’re also serious about playing our part at M&S. We’ve often been at the forefront of helping our customers to make healthy choices – back in 2007, we were the first retailer to introduce colour-coded front of pack nutritional information before it became the industry standard, and in 2000 we launched our calorie controlled ‘Count on us’ range.

To keep us on track, were aiming for the target of 50% of our sales coming from Eat Well products – and we’re determined to reach it!

One of the things I’m especially passionate about is demonstrating how healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. Value is front of mind for many families at the moment and we want to deliver fresh, high quality healthy food that doesn’t compromise on taste, quality or sourcing standards.

That’s why our Fresh Market Specials offer a rotating menu of seasonal, quality produce at great value alongside our Remarksable range including everyday staples – our responsibly sourced loose bananas are a bestseller at 78p per kilo.

So, let’s get started on that mission and prove that eating healthy food doesn’t have to be boring, with a bit of M&S magic and a lot of football talent. 

Whether you have the next budding Gareth (Bale or Southgate!) or you just want to be a little bit better at whatever exercise you or your family love, it all starts with food. Fuel your family with M&S Food. Discover healthy, follow that flower, and Eat Well Play Well.