Weetabix has launched a campaign challenging the trend for wheat and gluten avoidance and encouraging Brits to eat more whole wheat.

The Whole Wheat Fibre Campaign is targeted particularly at consumers who have cut their intake of bread and cereals in the “mistaken belief that foods containing wheat are intrinsically unhealthy.” A poll of 2,000 adults commissioned by Weetabix found 6.5% were buying fewer wheat-containing products such as bread and cereal as they felt they were “unhealthy for me and my family.”

Weetabix is pushing the message whole wheat is a good source of fibre, and has also funded a scientific review from the University of Warwick “debunking many of the myths around wheat.” It will be presented to the industry later this month at health and nutrition event Food Matters Live.

The move comes as retailers increase free-from product ranges and as celebrity endorsement and trends such as the paleo diet encourage consumers to avoid wheat and gluten.

Weetabix claimed its campaign was not attacking the gluten-free industry or specific diets head-on, and acknowledged there was “clearly a role” for gluten-free products - particularly for consumers diagnosed with coeliac disease.

“There have been a lot of conversations about gluten free, but it has been some time since someone has spoken up for wheat,” said Weetabix senior brand manager Claire Canty. “We are hoping to lead an honest debate on the issues.”

She added Weetabix would be “delighted” if other suppliers wanted to join the campaign.

The marketing push - which includes consumer PR, online and advertorials - is being fronted by TV presenter Gabby Logan, who said: “I try to avoid fad diets but was surprised at how they’re affecting the eating habits of the nation.”