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A better children’s beverage

Nutrient-dense, sugar-sparse drinks have opportunity to see success in the children’s health market as parents try to improve kids’ diets.

One area of the beverage shelf ripe for reinvention is the children’s drinks category, as brands reposition and innovate to meet the needs of Millennial parents. U.S. juice drinks (0-to24 percent juice content) have declined almost 14 percent over the last decade, according to Euromonitor International, with major brands struggling to retain their place in school lunch boxes and justify a continuing place in refrigerators at home. 

Fixing children’s beverages means lower sugar content in bottled fruit juices and juice pouches, but with minimal use of artificial sweeteners. Brands will seek to replicate the behaviors of Millennial parents, who are more likely to dilute 100 percent juice in the home with water before serving. The opportunity lies in packaged fruit-flavored waters and lighter, less-sweet juice formulations with kid-friendly branding. Brands like Hapi and Bossi Drinks (mixing fruit juice and herbal tea) are leading the way in exploring new refreshment formats. On the nutrition end of the spectrum, Good Karma (flax milk) and Ripple (pulse-based milk) both produce product lines positioned for younger consumers, while Orgain Organics markets one of the few natural nutrition shakes positioned for children, containing both organic dairy and whey-based protein in addition to vitamins and 10 fruits and vegetables.

While no magic bullet solves sugar reduction, the evidence across the U.S. food and beverage landscape suggests consumers are embracing less sweet, more ambitious flavor profiles without as much need for high-intensity artificial sweeteners. Brands should embrace diluted fruit juices and fruit-flavored waters that appeal to Millennial parents to help revive the children’s beverage category.

Learn more leading beverage trends in this full article, which was published in INSIDER’s beverage digital magazine.

Howard Telford is head of soft drinks at Euromonitor International.

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