by Marion Nestle
Aug 3 2023

Annals of marketing to kids–Sweet drink collectibles!

I thought I had seen everything when it comes to marketing to kids, but I never would have imagined this one.  Sweet drinks aimed at kids with animal-shaped tops: “Collect them all!”

The photo was sent to me by a reader who spotted these in a Safeway in a suburb of Sacramento.  I have not seem them in any of my local New York markets.

The reader also send photos of the Nutrition Facts panel—19 grams of sugars in 6 ounces.

I went to the company website to check the ingredients.

Here’s the list for 100% Fruit Punch Juice

Water, Concentrated Apple, Pear And Grape Juices, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Natural Fruit Punch Flavor.

Note the title carefully—it does not say this is 100% juice.  The “juice” comes from fruit concentrates, essentially fruit-flavored sugar.

Lest you worry about the sugar, the product comes with claims (and my comments):

  • No sugar added (it doesn’t have to be; the concentrates have plenty)
  • Excellent source of vitamin C (because it’s added)
  • Non GMO (the FDA has not approved GMO apples, pears, or grapes)
  • No artificial colors (at least that).
  • No artificial preservatives (ditto).
  • Pasteurized (ditto).
  • No artificial flavors (we can argue about what “natural fruit punch flavor” is likely to be).

The company sponsors a club for kid collectors (“the good-for-you-juice has never been so fun!”).

And it offers plenty of options to collect: “Topped with 200+ of your kids favorite characters.”

The company, good2grow, is owned by Wind Point Partners, a venture capital company.

Our value creation plan focuses on driving velocity and distribution gains, increasing penetration of non-core juice SKUs.

Will the cute cartoon toys take market share away from all the other sweetened drinks aimed at kids?  That’s their point.  We will see whether it works.

Parents: do not take your kids into the kids’ drink sections of supermarkets.

If you must buy your kids a sweet drink, one made with diluted fruit juice is a reasonable choice.