Unilever has enlisted the help of a restaurant critic in a £21m campaign for its Birds Eye brand, which it hopes will change negative consumer perceptions of frozen food.

The company is this month embarking on a TV, radio, press and poster crusade to spread what it calls the truth about frozen food and to debunk the myth that chilled foods contain fewer additives and are of superior quality.

Three TV executions will run from Monday (April 24), focusing on Birds Eye burgers, general fish and salmon. Each shows restaurant critic and broadcaster Richard Johnson revealing facts about how food is produced and highlighting the quality of Birds Eye products. The adverts also claim that chilled food deteriorates from the moment it is produced, while Birds Eye food is at its freshest from the second it is frozen. The executions end with the strapline 'Birds Eye, five-star food, frozen'.

John Farrell, category director, said the adverts would drive home the message that freezing not only keeps food fresh and locks in nutrients, but preserves products without the need for additives. "People have wrongly labelled frozen food as poor quality and we want to set the record straight," he said.

"When you look on the back of a Birds Eye pack, all of the ingredients are what you would find in your kitchen store cupboard at home.

"We want retailers and consumers to reappraise the category by telling the truth, that frozen food is quality food."

Unilever put its Birds Eye business up for sale earlier this year, while rival Heinz is said to be reviewing the sale of its European frozen foods business after failing to find a buyer. Food giant Nestlé has been linked to a possible acquisition of the Linda McCartney brand from Heinz.