by Marion Nestle
Jul 16 2014

Annals of kids marketing: herbal tea

I know I live on another planet, and my kids are long grown, but is there really a void in the market that has to be filled by a half-juice, half-herbal tea drink in a box for kids?

According to Food Navigator, the CEO of Drazil (lizard spelled backwards) Kids Tea thinks this product

pinpoint[s] a void in the kids’ beverage marketplace for a naturally healthy, reduced-sugar ready-to-drink beverage line as US consumers started falling out of love with 100% juice….There’s a huge need for healthy beverages that actually appeal to kids, so I thought, why not tea?…“I’ve studied how habits are formed when doing product development,” she said. “How do you get more adult tea drinkers? You get them to start drinking it regularly when they’re young. Tea is perfect because it’s relatively inexpensive to brew, so healthy—all those antioxidants, nutrients. Why not develop those habits young?”

OK.  The concept is adorable.

But is tea really loaded with antioxidants and nutrients?  Not like fruit juices.  This product is a juice drink that dilutes juice and its nutrients by half.   Yes, it also dilutes the fruit sugars by half but the boxes are 6.75 ounces and that much 100% juice is not unreasonable for school-age kids.

What ever happened to tap water?

This product is about marketing, and marketing to kids and hooking them early at that.

As I said, I live on another planet.

  • maxasaurusBax

    I’ve visited your planet, so I don’t consider your feelings so alien.

    But do you think it is worthwhile to get kids in the “habit” of a less-sweet beverage? It’s akin to sending them to school with watered down 100% juice as you suggest (packed at home in a reusable bottle making it both economic and environmental), but to some this is more convenient. Nutritionally, what is more important for kids right now – reducing sugar and building acceptance of less-sweet beverages or a few more vitamins from fruit juice? I go with the former.

  • Paul Farrar

    Are we crazy? Kids shouldn’t be drinking fruit juice at all. Way too much sugar. It’s essentially cola, where the sugar comes from an apple instead of a cane stalk. Vitamins? Kids lose a lot more teeth to sugar than to scurvy.

  • Paul Farrar

    BTW: ONE juice box puts most adults at or over the WHO daily max for sugar.

  • Kevin Klatt

    I’d be interested to see if there’s even a relevant amount of polyphenols present in the juice boxes. Previous analyses suggested that bottled tea beverages were pretty lacking in their antioxidant claims: http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2010/august/bottled-tea-beverages-may-contain-fewer-polyphenols-than-brewed-tea.html

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  • TR

    The answer to your question is Neither! Reduce sugar? Give them water to drink! American kids are by and large so spoiled on sweet drinks that they don’t drink the high quality tap water available to them. Meanwhile, many children in other countries die from the unsanitary water that they have no choice but to drink. You want vitamins? Eat food!

  • Vivian

    Wouldn’t it be neat to promote bottles of water using cartoon characters, even beyond the fences of amusement parks? It should have the same effect as what the food industry has been doing.

  • maxasaurusBax
  • maxasaurusBax

    Ideally. But you are trying to realistically appeal to Americans today. It is an option in the right direction, no?

  • Christine

    Thank you for writing about our product Marion.
    As a mom of 4 kids and a tea lover, I created Drazil Kids Tea to
    introduce tea to young kids with the hope that they develop a life-long habit of drinking tea. I agree that water is
    the best beverage for kids but we feel Drazil offers a healthy alternative to drinks higher in sugar. Compared to 100%
    juice, Drazil cuts the sugar but keeps the antioxidants. Drazil’s signature blend of naturally caffeine-free herbal teas includes Rooibos, Hibiscus, Rose Hips, Pomegranate and Fruit Pieces. Based on extensive market research, the current blend of 54% brewed herbal tea and 46% fruit juice was optimal as we knew it had to taste great for kids to drink it. Our goal is that kids develop a love for tea and a taste for less sugary drinks. It seems to be working with my kids as they seek out tea beverages, many of which are unsweetened.

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