Children want drinks to look and taste good, but parents need satisfying that they offer nutritional values as well. The belief Procter & Gamble's Sunny Delight lacked the latter certainly helped sales slump last year by 37% as parents turned their backs on it. Now Sunny D is back in the chiller following a makeover and P&G is optimistic it will re-establish its credentials as a must-have children's drink. Its juice content has been upped from 5% to 15% and it is not adding sugar to some variants. New flavours, new packaging and a £12m marketing campaign complete the picture, and P&G is hoping for a 50% uplift in sales and value across the chilled sector. Trade marketing manager Jolyon Hennings says: "One of the keys to success in the impulse sector is to make sure these products are available and visible to the consumer." The challenge for retailers, he says, is to maximise the natural links between impulse products and eating occasions and merchandise them in ways to maximise sales uplift, such as Sunny Delight 500ml with sandwiches for on-the-go consumption, 1.5 litre in the main chiller as a top-up shop item, and 200ml as part of a meal solution. Sunny D's comeback has certainly shaken the market into action, with major players now investing mega spends on their ranges. GlaxoSmithKline's £62m spend on its flagship brands this year includes a hefty £27m on Ribena, £10m of which is media spend. The company has put the furore over Ribena Toothkind's dental credentials behind it and is now focusing strongly on keeping the Ribena brand in its top position. Ribena currently holds a 5.7% share of soft drinks sales, lying fourth behind Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Lucozade Energy [ACNielsen]. The brand has a history going back to the '30s and, claims GSK, is the number one one-shot still juice drink, seeing sales of its PET format grow by 16% in value year-on-year in the impulse sector [ACNielsen, MAT to December 29 2001]. However, in spite of this strong growth in independents, customer marketing manager for out of home Jeremy Thomas admits the competition is fiercer since Sunny D and Robinson's Fruit Shoot came on the scene. Keeping the brand at front of mind, says Thomas, is a must and Ribena will benefit from much activity this year, following last year's successful promotions such as its fridge jug offer with special two litre packs. "In take home it's about getting Ribena into the chiller in the summer months," says Thomas. "While in some stores there is enough space for soft drinks, we do need chilled equipment and we are looking at new chilled solutions." Another development that is on the cards is the introduction of sports caps which industry sources say would modernise the brand. Britvic claims there are 11.3 million two to 14-year-olds in the UK who on average drink three times more soft drinks than adults, "In terms of size and growth of soft drinks consumption per head in the UK, kids present the biggest retail opportunity," says take home category controller Paul Ford. "One fifth of the population is under 14 and soft drinks consumption is rising fastest amongst this age group. "Moreover, 60% of kids now influence family spending on soft drinks, whether it's for consumption at home, at school or when out and about." Britvic says it is investing heavily in its kids' portfolio. The company claims that Robinsons was worth £204m in 2001, up 16% on the previous year, while sales of its children's drink Robinson's Fruit Shoot reached £25m in 2001. Available in regular and no added sugar variants and in 200ml and 300ml sports-capped bottles, support for Fruit Shoot has been specifically aimed at kids. A £3m TV ad on air now will be back in August during the school holidays and a poster campaign will run throughout the May half term. Last year's makeover of Capri-Sun's packaging and flavours was a success, says Coca-Coca Enterprises, increasing brand awareness to both kids and parents. CCE claims the brand is now worth £38.5m, up 67.1% year-on-year [ACNielsen MAT total take home March 3 2002]. With lunchbox juice fast becoming the second largest segment within the juice market, worth £152m and growing at 20% year-on-year [ACNielsen ­ multiple grocers 52 w/e March 9 2002], CCE has plans for a raft of children focused activity. A collectable cheeky door hanging message from a choice of five will be free with every 10-pack of Capri-Sun for five weeks from May 6 aimed at attracting 1.15 million consumers. The company has also rolled out a fun, interactive web site where kids can indulge their creative juices. With just one kids' drink in its portfolio, CCE hasn't ruled out the possibility of more. "There is an opportunity we may pursue," says marketing director Ian Deste, "but there are no immediate plans." Hall & Woodhouse says its kids' brand Panda Pops is now worth around £35m, while Popzone, its fixture concept for kids drinks, has now been taken up by all the major multiples, the latest conquest being Tesco. This year it hopes to double its distribution in the Co-op, while Asda, the first multiple to trial the concept, now has it in all stores. This chain has also taken on board 24-packs of Panda Pops. Being trialled at the moment is a double fronted chiller in Woolworths. And the company is now trying to develop a category approach to kids' ranges in foodservice. H&W says Panda Pops is its single biggest brand and that with Simpsons flavoured waters and Panda Still makes what it calls "a balanced portfolio". Marketing manager Graham Jacobs says that kids under nine consume in excess of 23% of soft drinks, equating to £2bn sales. Panda Pops still has eight lines to its credit and its current on-pack promotion offering Harry Potter instant win cards to gain 1,000 collectables has been a success. By the end of the year it says Popzone will be embraced by 75% of the retail trade, and account for half of the PET market. Children between four and 16 years old are Calypso's target audience and tempting them to buy, it says, is the vast array of character licensed products it has on offer. Marketing director Richard Cooke says: "The secret is to keep pace with changing fashions and opt for those character licences that combine current appeal with staying power." Its line-up for 2002 is the Rugrats, Pokémon, Tom & Jerry, Cartoon Network Classics and The Simpsons. This year it has launched its first organic juice drink and taken up the cause of the World Wide Fund for Nature to raise at least £30,000 over the next two years. Available in three variants, each pack depicts a wild animal and the WWF's Panda logo, and for every pack bought, a donation of 1p will be given to the charity. Cooke says: "By targeting parents of six to 14-year-olds, we hope to encourage the next generation to recognise the values of organic food and drink at an early age." Princes Soft Drinks has revitalised its Jucee squash brand for the independent sector with a new vibrant look and new flavours for its standard squash range ­ citrus, and apple and strawberry. Supporting the brand will be promotional offers such as a 99p special price' launch promotion on its High Juice range which will roll out in mid May. Ocean Spray, handled by Princes, is another brand which has undergone a major relaunch. This year its packaging has been given a makeover, bottles resized from 750ml to one litre, and a new flavour ­ cranberry and raspberry ­ added. Villa Soft Drinks says that it has introduced sugar-free variants and still sports cap products and vitamin fortification into its range in response to consumer needs. Its newest product, Fruit Jet, has all three of these essential ingredients which Villa says has helped encourage parental endorsement. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}