Healthy beverages for kids to double

When formulating children’s beverages, less (in terms of unnatural ingredients) and more (in terms of natural ingredients) is more desirable to moms, and those manufacturers who take that advice have great opportunities ahead.  

Health-conscious parents are increasingly choosing products that they perceive to be as natural as possible, and increasingly shunning ingredients they see as undesirable, unnatural or potentially harmful, such as added sugar and artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors, or flavours, reports New Nutrition Business. 

According to a new report -- Marketing Kids’ Healthy Beverages – the U.S. market for children’s food and drink will grow in value by 50 percent from $16.4 billion in 2007 to $26.8 billion within two years and health drinks are making the biggest gains.

As more companies recognize that parents are looking for alternatives to sugary colas and sodas, fruit juice, fruit-flavored water and dairy drinks are still the biggest and most dynamic areas of the junior beverage sector.  “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.”

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.