Walkers is launching an ambitious bid to appease the health lobby with a scheme to get the nation walking, The Grocer has learned.

The snacks giant is understood to be teaming up with The Sun newspaper to give away one million pedometers in a massive ‘calories out’ education programme. TV ads to support the scheme will break on October 20 and nothing about Walkers’ products will be featured.

However, commentators warned that Walkers could be taking a massive public relations risk. Cadbury last year famously came unstuck with its Get Active wrapper collection scheme to give away sports equipment to schools which, despite receiving support from sports minister Richard Caborn, was panned by critics for encouraging unhealthy snacking.

Nick Cloke, director at marketing consultancy Catalyst, said: “This could work well for Walkers if it can prove it is in this for the long term. Otherwise, it may be seen as a cynical quick fix.”

Mary Barnard, impulse retail director for PepsiCo UK, said the scheme would be “the biggest ever calories out activity”.
A Walkers spokesman said: “This reflects our commitment to playing our part in improving the health and wellness of the nation.”