Health charities have questioned the logic of footballers appearing in campaigns for snack brands such as Jaguar Energy Drinks.

Liverpool’s tie-up with the donut maker will see the brand’s logo appear around the stadium as well as have its products sold on match days. Jaguar Energy Drink will be made available throughout Manchester City’s Etihad stadium.

Both Dunkin and Jaguar have hinted at creating a number of in-stadium and digital fan activations through the partnerships in an attempt to expand their limited profiles in the UK. Health charities, however, claim upcoming campaigns could taint the “sporting success” associated with both clubs if they feature players such as Steven Gerrard endorsing products that are high in calories and sugar content.

Dr Matthew Philpott, director at campaign group the European Healthy Stadia Network, says the “very least it hopes to see through Liverpool’s tie-up with Dunkin is the sale and promotion of its reduced calorie “DDSMART” range inside the stadium and through its wider marketing channels. 

The announcements come a month after YouGov research revealed that 45 per cent of fans attending sports stadia in the UK are uneasy about the lack of healthier choices and poor quality ingredients in stadium food.

Malcolm Clark, co-ordinator for Sustain’s Children’s Food Campaign, says the tie-ups feel “un-joined” for both clubs given star players such as Gerrard have been heavily involved in health campaigns in recent months. The Liverpool captain is one of several high-profile stars to be supporting the charity’s ongoing campaign to make cooking a part of the curriculum.

Clark adds: “A child would get over 30% of their recommended max daily intake from one 250ml can. And that’s before we get to the caffeine hit too.  Whilst Jaguar may be being promoted slightly differently to donuts, which is much less child and family friendly pitch, we are still concerned for the potential increased consumption amongst younger teenagers, and the general message that this tie-up conveys about the acceptability, frequency and coolness of drinking energy drinks – especially when people don’t fully appreciate how much sugar is in them.”

Dunkin and jaguar Energy Drinks were unable to provide comment by the time this article was published