Getting children into the water-drinking habit offers tremendous possibilities for growing sales

The children’s sector is one of the major areas for growth in the bottled water market, with many companies expanding their portfolios.
According to Sally Stanley, marketing director at Highland Spring, the market for children’s water is still relatively small.
She says if half the five to 11-year-olds in the UK were to drink the same amount of water as adults do, consumption would rise from 11 million litres a year to 100 million litres. “Despite the category expanding by 34% in volume, the children’s sector is still very underdeveloped,” says Stanley.
However, companies and retailers are getting in on the act. Britvic, for example, waded into the category last month with Robinsons Fruit Shoot H20, a sugar-free flavoured water designed exclusively for children.
The drink - available in orange, apple and blackcurrant flavours - has playground appeal, essential when
trying to bring new children to the category, says Robinsons brand controller Jonathan Gatward. “Mums want children to drink more water but kids can find it boring. Fruit Shoot H20 is fun, cool and great-tasting.”
Nestlé Waters is also further developing its Billy Buxton children’s brand and will launch two new flavours - Strawberry Splash and Lemon Wave - next month.
The bottles will come in 250ml easy-grip size and have a panel on the label for kids to write their name in a bid to give it that vital playground appeal.
Calypso Soft Drinks puts the market for sub-500ml drinks aimed at kids at about £25m and says kids’ waters are emerging as a category in their own right.
“Parents are increasingly realising that their children should drink more water every day,” says Richard Cooke, Calypso’s sales and marketing director. “Children aged eight to 11 are on average drinking only about 350ml of fluid during a school day against a recommendation of 1.5 to two litres.”
The Calypso range incorporates character licensing links with Disney, including Finding Nemo, in an effort to appeal to four to five-year-olds, and has an Umbro-branded water for slightly older, sports-mad boys.
Vimto Soft Drinks is also aware that drinks must have the correct focus if they are to appeal to fickle youngsters. Next month the company is completely overhauling its Panda range of soft drinks and is launching Panda Spring, a plain still water, as well as four flavours.
The overhaul, with updated logo, includes a change from its stubby bottle shape to a more slimline design and the introduction of a sports cap.
Glenn Hudson, MD at Vimto Soft Drinks, says that in the PlayStation age children are much more grown up and companies can alienate them if their offering appears too childish.
As a result, in addition to launching child favourites such as strawberry and apple, the company is introducing blackberry and blueberry flavours in the wake of the renewed popularity of blueberries among adults.