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The Changing Face of Food and Beverage Products for Children

Products targeted at children have played host to a frenzy of innovations recently, with global introductions for children’s food and beverage products increasing by more than 50% from 2003 to 2007, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database GNPD. Much of this innovation has manifested itself in original products that are appealing to parents from a nutritional standpoint, while also remaining aesthetically and flavorfully alluring to children.

Novel Appeal

The rise of healthy choices in typically indulgent categories has redefined how consumers think about nutritious foods and beverages. Those products offering unique flavors combined with novel concepts or experiences are likely to resonate with younger consumers. Although these products don’t generally appeal to the more sophisticated palates of their parents, treats providing nutritional value and benefits along with new, intriguing experiences for children are likely to please both parties.

In the United States, a new genre of frozen treats has been created with the recent introduction of Pickle Sickle Pickle Juice Popsickles. Targeted to children, the salty sachets contain pickle juice and can either be frozen into a popsicle or drunk directly from the tube. Described as a “tongue curling treat” originating from Texas, Pickle Sickles are also positioned as a healthy alternative indulgence for children to replace traditional sugar-based frozen treats.

Also in the United States, Yoplait Go-Gurt Fizzix Fizzy Yogurt Snacks bring together the goodness of yogurt with a blast of carbonation for a fruit-filled fizzy experience. These yogurt treats contain vitamins A and D and are available in a range of kid-friendly flavors, including Triple Berry Fusion, Fruit Punch Charge, Blue Raspberry Rage, Strawberry Watermelon Rush, Wild Cherry Zing and Strawberry Lemonade Jolt varieties.

Fruit and Vegetable Servings

Consumers are facing more pressure to increase their fruit and vegetable intake, and manufacturers have responded by formulating products, including frozen novelties, energy drinks, snacks and cereals that contain full servings of produce. The nutritional value may be debatable, but there is no doubt that convenience makes these products appealing, particularly to parents seeking to “sneak” fruits and vegetables into the diets of finicky little ones.

Two products launched in the United Kingdom are prime examples of how some manufacturers have reformulated classic products to create healthier versions. The Heinz Hidden Veg Vegetable Meal Range, for example, is targeted at parents looking for help in their struggle to get their children to eat vegetables. The Hidden Veg range includes Beanz (baked beans in tomato sauce), SpagBol (spaghetti bolognaise) and Hoops (pasta rings in tomato sauce), all of which have four “hidden” vegetables blended into the sauce. The Beanz variety features carrots, red peppers, parsnips and courgette.

Coca-Cola has introduced its Fruitiser Mango and Mandarin Fruit Juice in the United Kingdom. This lightly sparkling beverage is made from 100% fruit juice and provides one of the five recommended servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This fruit-filled beverage range is also available in Apple & Dragonfruit and Pomegranate & Raspberry varieties.

Fortified Flavors

Beyond adding fruits and vegetables to food and beverages, many parents are also seeking vitamin-fortified products with kid appeal. According to Mintel GNPD, from 2003 to 2007, new children’s products claiming to be vitamin/mineral fortified nearly doubled. Many of these products contain essential vitamins and minerals to support development and overall wellness, while a growing number of products are being fortified with ingredients touting specific functions, such as calcium for bone strength, fiber for digestive health and omega fatty acids for brain development.

In the United States, Bot Fortified Water is low in sugar and contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners or preservatives. Available in Grape, Berry, Orange and Lemon varieties, Bot waters are kosher certified and fortified with vitamins B3, B5, B6 and B12, which are essential nutrients for kids' well-being and growth.

In Taiwan, Beryl’s Chocolate & Confectionery recently introduced Audrey’s Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Bar. Enriched with omega-3s, this product turns a chocolate treat into a delivery system for a nutritional supplement. Audrey’s Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Bar sources its omega-3 from fish oil, and the company eliminates the fishy taste and smell by incorporating its proprietary “BrainyDHA,” which microencapsulates the fatty acid supplement for a tasteless, odor-free effect.

Functionality and added health benefits from food and beverages are a priority for many of today’s consumers. Food and beverages that once simply served the purposes of satisfying hunger and quenching thirst have been reformulated to provide health benefits and fulfill daily vitamin and mineral needs for children and adults alike. As this current generation of consumers is growing up as the most sophisticated and savvy yet, they will continue to demand products that incorporate new and exciting flavors while also providing strong nutritional content and benefits.

Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. For more information, visit or call 1-312-932-0600.

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