Big growth forecast for US children’s healthy drinks market
By Mike Stones, 24-Sep-2009
The US market for children’s food and drink will grow in value by 50 percent from $16.4bn in 2007 to $26.8bn within two years, according to a new report from New Nutrition Business.
The report, Marketing Kids’ Healthy Beverages, identifies health drinks as making the biggest gains. Fruit juice, fruit-flavored water and dairy drinks are still the biggest and most dynamic areas of the junior beverage sector as more companies recognize that parents are looking for alternatives to sugary colas and sodas.
“There are a number of factors that give fruit drinks for kids a competitive advantage over other categories,” says the report. “For one thing the “naturally healthy” image of fruit drinks makes them a suitable vehicle for health benefits – as does children’s love
of fruit-flavored, sweet drinks. They are also convenient to carry and pack in lunchboxes.”
Appealing to customers
Underpinning a brand with the claim of naturalness is proving to be just as strong and profitable a trend in children’s food as in adult nutrition, according to the report.
“Across all food and beverage categories, the message that a food or food component is naturally and intrinsically healthy is one of the most appealing to consumers in all cultures,” writes the report’s author, food specialist Julian Mellentin.
As almost all of the ten case studies featured in the report illustrate, health-conscious parents are increasingly choosing products that they perceive to be as natural as possible. Increasingly they are shunning ingredients that they see as undesirable or unnatural or potentially harmful, such as added sugar and artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors, or flavors.
“Being able to offer one or more of the benefits of being “free-from” dairy or wheat (to take just two examples) is essential for any brand targeting children and health conscious parents,” advises the report. “Kids’ beverages should contain no added sugar – use apple or pear juice concentrates as your sweetener, or perhaps fructose.”
Although beverage products should be as natural as possible, manufacturers who want to deliver a health benefit from an added ingredient should choose one that mothers accept and understand. That means, in most countries, either a probiotic or an omega-3, said the report.
Parents’ key concerns for their children’s health focus on immunity and digestive health, according to the report.
“In coming years expect to see an increasing focus on developing brands to meet these needs. Concerns around digestive health suggest an untapped opportunity for fiber (one that Froose beverage in the US has picked up on) and probiotics,” it predicted.
Also important is strong beverage packaging which is equally as important as products’ scientific credentials, research and development, or advertising investment.
The report is available from New Nutrition Business at www.new-nutrition.com . No information on prices was available.