Bottled water is gaining a foothold in the lunchbox and children like to have the coolest brands

You’d be mistaken if you thought that every packed lunch contained a drink. According to TNS data, only 54% of lunchboxes are consumed with a drink while the Food Standards Agency lunchbox survey 2004 found that only 17% of lunchboxes had water in them.
Mums might want their kids to drink more water but kids will prefer fizzy and fruity drinks with their brash designs and ‘cool’ image.
David Patmore, marketing director at Princes Soft Drinks, says: “The media continues to paint a negative picture of fizzy drinks, which is clearly having an impact on sales across all age groups.
“The perception in parents’ minds that ‘bubbles are bad’ is having an impact on what they put into their kids’ lunchboxes, with many transferring from carbonated
soft drinks to water or fruit juice. The positive messages surrounding bottled water, from hydration to improved concentration, are hitting home.”
Bottled water companies have worked on making products more appealing. Highland Spring claims to have
kickstarted the whole ‘water for kids’ category with Looney Tunes in 2001.
Sally Stanley, marketing director, says: “The Looney Tunes water worked really well but we found that parents were loyal to Highland Spring and the credentials of the parent brand were important to them.”
So last year, the company launched Highland Spring for Kids. The 12x330ml multipacks are now listed in the majority of Tesco stores and are also in Asda and the Co-op. These bottles have a two-piece sports cap and a ‘belongs to’ label so kids can personalise their drinks.
Paul Martin, MD of Harrogate Spa Water, says image is so important to kids that it covers water too: “Retailers should pay close attention to the brands they stock because food and drink brands in a child’s lunchbox are as important as the brand of trainers. Children want to be seen with the best, so premium brands continue to make an impact.”
McDonald adds: “Parents tend to think that their kids still have ready access to water at school when that’s not always the case. That’s why taking bottled water to school is so important. Some local authorities now encourage children to have a bottle of water on their desks.”
Away from water, one brand that regularly appears in kids’ lunchboxes is Robinsons Fruit Shoot. The product overtook Ribena in value sales for the first time last year [ACNielsen, MAT, December 25, 2004] and continues to go from strength to strength. A new tropical variety was added to the range in June and the brand is backed by a £5m campaign, including TV ads.
Vimto has a new ergonomically designed 250ml sports cap bottle in time for the back-to-school opportunity in September. Launched at the start of August in 55p single bottles and a four-pack for £1.49, the drink benefits from an improved taste, but retains the benefits of no added sugar, the use of real fruit juice and no artificial colours.