When the schools go back at the start of September, it’s a major opportunity for grocery retailers, both large supermarkets and convenience format outlets to grow their sales as schoolchildren and parents on the school run look for convenient ways to top up on refreshments and snacks. In particular, retailers with schools in their vicinity should remember to offer a range of products that meet the need states of their young and grown-up customers.

The weather at the start of the autumn term can be very warm. As the recent heat wave reminded us, we all need to keep hydrated, especially children. Radnor Hills and Danone are two water and drinks companies with a particular interest in this area.

Radnor Hills is actively involved in the school drinks market with its Radnor Fruits and Fizz, targeting school catering. William Watkins, MD of Radnor Hills explains his approach: “Since the advent of the requirement for school compliant drinks we have been at the forefront of this market, looking to develop drinks suitable for this age profile and fitting in with the government regulations. School drinks have become an important part in the fight against obesity, proving you can still have very tasty healthy drinks, even though they are low in sugar.”

Children get told what to do quite enough at school, without being nagged to stay hydrated too. Ellen Elsby, Volvic Brand Manager at Danone Waters UK & Ireland is on the kids’ side: “Consumer appetite for bottled water is growing, but at the same time we know that as much as 60% of children in the UK don’t drink enough water, and only 7% of lunchboxes contain water.”

These worrying figures come from a University of Sheffield 2010- 2011 survey into UK schoolchildren’s hydration status of UK, and a survey of 326 UK head teachers in May 2011, reported on nationalhydrationcouncil.org.uk, which suggests significant numbers of schoolchildren could be going for up to 18 hours without a drink.

Part of Danone’s strategy is to put some fun into the serious business of healthy hydration. In partnership with Disney, Volvic offers retailers its Kids range comprising branded water bottles and multipacks featuring characters from Star Wars, Frozen and Cars.

To help retailers make the most of the back-to-school season, Volvic has introduced a range of collectable stickers and posters with the multipacks. There will be a fun sticker sporting a Disney character on each bottle inside the packs. The mascot bottles sport changing seasonal designs and introduce new Star Wars and Disney Frozen characters throughout the year to keep kids engaged and excited, especially during term time.

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