The annual Back to School opportunity presents wholesalers and the local retailers they supply with a major sales generator. It’s important that retailers, and wholesalers too, stock a wide range of products to tap into the lunchbox occasion all year round, but particularly starting from the end of the summer, when parents are getting ready for the new school term.

With parents increasingly looking for new and exciting options for lunchboxes it’s important for your retail customers to offer a breadth of choice, with products which not only have nutritional benefits but also appeal to kids. Wholesale Manager asked the major suppliers for their advice on how to make the most of the opportunity.

Snacking brands like Dairylea, belVita and Joy Fills are perfectly placed, says Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International, to tap into the demand for individually wrapped formats for the lunchbox occasion across various product categories, including school lunches. These formats also help parents with portion control for their kids.

Adult Snacks is the fastest growing sector in the category, growing rapidly at +27%. Ideal for older school students, Philadelphia Snacks, launched this year, offer a great-tasting range of low calorie, nutritious snacks. There are two varieties, one with Philadelphia Light with baked breadsticks at 103 calories and another with Philadelphia Herbs with baked wholemeal breadsticks at 86 calories.

Kids Snacks is also a fast-growing category, representing 31% of the Processed Cheese category. The Dairylea brand has unveiled a range of innovations over the past year to help retailers tap into this significant demand as parents look for kids snacks for their lunchboxes. Dairylea Snackers launched in 2018, combining savoury cheese with a sweet treat to fuel kids during the day and tide them over until the next meal. The brand is building on this success in 2019 with a new Snackers variant, Dairylea Snackers with Cadbury Giant Buttons. The new packs contain Dairylea cheese slices and crackers, with Cadbury Giant Buttons to create a delicious sweet and savoury snack. They will also be available in price-marked packs, the first Snackers pack in a PMP.

Biscuits are another important part of the Back to School lunchbox opportunity, says Susan Nash. Having first hit shelves last summer, Cadbury Joyfills has extended its range with two smaller 75g packs, perfect for the lunchbox occasion. Joyfills Oreo Vanilla Creme are sweet crispy wheat pillows with cocoa and vanilla soft filling: Joyfills Cadbury Milk Chocolate Creme feature the same crispy pillows filled with a milk chocolate soft centre.

Savoury biscuits are by nature more “permissible” than sweet ones for school time snacking. Ritz Original cracker, the best-selling savoury biscuit and Ritz Original Breaks now have a new recipe with 70% less saturated fat. Ritz Cheese crackers also have 50% less saturated fat. Another Mondelez brand, belVita is also helping retailers tap into the demand for healthier on-the-go biscuits. New belVita Seeds and Berries comes in two delicious flavours with Raspberry & Chia Seeds and Blueberry and Flax Seeds; available in six-pack boxes with three biscuits per pack, the ideal choice for shoppers stocking up for the week ahead. belVita has also launched its first ever reduced sugar variant, belVita Chocolate Chip with 30% less sugar.

Completing the Mondelez lineup, Cadbury Brunch Bar, worth £27.9m and growing +5.4% annually, is an ideal lunchbox pick-me-up as schoolkids go through the day and fatigue increases their demand for a treat.

Parents are becoming savvier with their spending and taking the extra time to pre-plan their family’s daytime meals, says Matt Collins, Trading Director at KP Snacks. Consumers are more conscious than ever of the snacks they are purchasing, which is reflected in the growth of the ‘healthy segment’ at +10.4%, ahead of the overall crisps, snacks and nuts category.

Looking at the data, 1 in 5 adults’ lunchboxes and 2 in 5 kids’ lunchboxes contain a bagged snack with 12% and 19% respectively opting for a bag of crisps – still a more popular choice, ahead of other savoury snacks. Matt Collins explains his strategy: “At KP Snacks we believe snacks can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Retailers are giving more range space for lighter alternatives to meet this need, and we’ve been a significant part in this change.”

As well as reducing saturated fat and sodium levels by as much as 80% across their core range KP have removed virtually all artificial colours, added flavour enhancers, artificial sweeteners and artificial colours. The KP Snacks portfolio includes 29 products that are 100 calories or fewer per pack including lunchbox favourites POM-BEAR, Hula Hoops and Skips, popchips and Space Raiders.

In 2018 KP launched Hula Hoop Puft, one of the lowest calorie snacks on the market. Available in Salted, Salt & Vinegar, Cheese and Sweet Chilli, they have a light, crispy and melt-in the mouth texture but incorporates the classic hoops shape that kids love. KP’s best-selling kids’ lunchbox line is POM-BEAR, gluten free and containing fewer than 100 calories per pack. This year, KP Snacks are running a number of promotions including supporting POM-Bear with a £1m spend across OOH, social media, digital channels and in-store activation.

A constant struggle for parents when packing their child’s lunchboxes for school, says Victoria Southern, Marketing & Category Director at Kerry Foods, is attempting to create a nutritious meal whilst appealing to their sense of fun. Children are continually looking for ways to make food more entertaining and lunch time should be an opportunity for them to unleash their creativity and enjoy themselves in between school lessons.

Cheestrings is Britain’s biggest dairy snacking brand, and its popularity comes from tapping into this demand. Each Cheestrings is made with one glass of milk (180ml) and real cheese, which is heated and stretched to make it stringy and playful.

Following the launch of Kerry Foods’ new Strings and Things brand earlier in the year, the portfolio now encompasses not only Cheestrings but also Yollies and new additions Cheeshapes, both designed to spark creativity and imagination in children while providing important nutrients in snack form.

Cheeshapes are available in two ranges: ‘Randoms’, a mixture of shapes to turn lunchtime into an opportunity for storytelling, and ‘Icons’, a range of shapes tapping into the trend of social media and appealing to a slightly older audience. Both ranges were co-designed by kids to create a playful outline yet are approved by parents due to the real cheese content, which is a source of calcium, vitamin D and only 71 calories per pack.

Yollies also continue to be popular with parents. A unique yoghurt lolly which is a no mess way of enjoying the healthy goodness of a yogurt, Yollies are a perfect choice for lunchboxes. Each Yollies is under 50 calories and rich in calcium and Vitamin D.

As school starts again, says Matthew Grenter, Sales Manager at Brioche Pasquier, parents are once amore looking to fill their children’s lunchboxes with healthy, tasty items their kids will actually eat: “For busy parents, goods packed in child size portions can be particularly useful. Fruit and child-friendly salad items are good standbys that make appropriate lunchbox additions, but parents also want to add a little treat to give their children a boost after lunch, or as a morning or after school snack.”

Brioche Pasquier’s PITCH chocolate filled brioche are soft and tasty and have chocolate chips or a chocolate filling, so children love them. And from the parents’ point of view they have been given an extremely high rating by the Family Panel, with 96% of families appreciating that they are free from artificial colours, preservatives and hydrogenated fats.

Child-sized portions of individually wrapped items like Brioche Pasquier’s PITCH filled brioche are perfect as they come in packs of four or six individually wrapped for convenience, so they are so easy to carry in a bag or pocket. Product longevity is also important with these products, not only for consumers but retailers. The natural ‘levain’ unique to Brioche Pasquier guarantees their products for up to 21 days, even though they contain no preservatives.

Unlike a bread roll, PITCH needs no butter or spread, they are delicious straight out of the packet. There are two types – one has a seam of smooth dark hazelnut chocolate running through the centre of the brioche roll, and the other is sprinkled with chocolate chips.

Brioche Pasquier’s back to school campaign runs on the PITCH range until mid-October, offering families the chance to win prizes including a holiday. Customers can see instantly if they have won a prize, by entering the pack’s unique code on a microsite. All prizes are linked to going back to school and include items like magazine subscriptions and book vouchers. Encouraging repeat purchases, anyone who collects five codes through multiple buys will receive a collectable gift such as a lunchbox.

Booming demand for bolder, spicier flavours and consumer appetite for ever more exciting snacks is having a marked effect on the lunchbox and back to school sector, says Debbie King, Director of Commercial Sales & Marketing at Cofresh, the UK’s no 1 Indian snack brand. “As people enjoy increasingly innovative and spicy taste experiences at home, they’re no longer content with traditional snacks in run of the mill flavours.”

This is also true when it comes to children’s lunchboxes, says Debbie: “The boring old flavours of yesterday are falling out of favour and in come new, tasty ones. Children are now exposed to more flavours and taste experiences than ever before and their palettes are much more sophisticated, so wholesalers can create a real point of difference by stocking a broad range of exciting, tasty snacks to meet this evergrowing demand for flavour.”

In response to increased demand for tasty and healthier snacks, Cofresh now offers a lighter version of its popular potato-based ‘Grills’ range (80g) in six flavours including Peri Peri, Chilli Cheese, Jalapeno and best-selling Chilli & Lemon. Containing 30% less fat, the Chilli & Lemon Grills are also available in multipacks.

The other part of Cofresh’s business is healthier snacking brand Eat Real. As increasing numbers of schools implement strict ‘healthy living’ guidelines on children’s lunchboxes, it’s vital that packed lunch staples meet a wide range of ‘look good, taste good’ requirements from both children and parents. Debbie King is also Director of Commercial Sales & Marketing for Eat Real. She explains the brand’s approach:

“With more people rejecting traditional snacks in favour of ‘good for you’ items, this trend is also affecting children’s lunchboxes,” says Debbie. “Eating is now much more of a lifestyle choice, with many consumers seeking healthier and free-from options, even if they don’t suffer from dietary intolerances – and they’re increasingly keen that their children’s lunchboxes also contain healthier snacks.

“This opens up some great opportunities for wholesalers to stock up on healthier options, putting them in a strong position to meet demand from retailers when the new term starts.”

Eat Real’s range of plant-based snacks, made from all-natural ingredients and free from all 14 declarable allergens, includes Hummus, Lentil and Quinoa Chips as well as the Kids Veggie Straws, ideal for younger children. The Hummus and Lentil Chips contain up to 40 % less fat than traditional potato crisps and the Kids Veggie Straws just 104 calories per 20g pack – and all are suitable for Vegan, Kosher and Halal diets. They also now come in handy multipacks, perfect for lunchbox planning.

“The growing demand for free from products for kids’ lunchboxes reflects the overall trend for healthier snacking,” adds King, “but knowing children are unlikely to eat anything purely for health reasons, this new generation of snacks also appeals to their taste buds.

“Bagged snacks are an important part of a lunchbox as they deliver extra flavour, crunch and variety, but parents are increasingly seeking healthier alternatives to the traditional potato crisp and want to ensure their children benefit from a free-from diet, whether at home or at school.”

Burton’s Biscuit Co. is advising wholesalers to stock up on biscuit portion packs to maximise sales around the key back to school/lunchbox occasion. With school lunchbox content coming under increased scrutiny from health experts and the Government, along with the introduction of PHE guidelines for children to consume just 2 snacks under 100 calories a day, shopper demand for more permissible options for lunchboxes continues to grow.

Burton’s, the No.1 manufacturer in the £62.3m Kids Minis Biscuits market, leads the way in portion-controlled biscuits, offering the strongest ‘less than 100 calories per serve’ range in the UK’s £3 billion biscuits category.

“Biscuit Portion Packs are outperforming the total market, with the number of children consuming biscuits as part of a carried-out lunch increasing by +32% year on year. This highlights the opportunity to provide biscuits and snacks that are convenient and permissible, while still a delicious treat,” says Isabel Lydall, Category & Insights Controller at Burton’s Biscuit Company.

“Many of our best-selling brands such as Jammie Dodgers and Maryland Cookies are available in mini bite size or individual portions, making them perfect for lunchboxes or an afterschool snack as part of a balanced diet.”

Burton’s recently introduced a range of snack bars, expanding its existing portion packs range, including Maryland Oaty Cookie Bars, individually wrapped chocolate chip cookie bars high in fibre and wholegrain oats.

The positive messaging around healthy snacking has also given meat snacks a huge boost, says Pavan Chandra, Marketing Manager at Peperami, part of Jack Link’s, the world’s largest meat snacks company. Snacking options with nutritional benefits such as being high in protein and calcium are increasingly being considered by shoppers when it comes to lunchbox inclusion, as parents are more aware not only about what they give their kids, but also including healthier, functional snacks the whole family can enjoy.

Earlier this year Peperami, the UK’s no.1 meat snacking brand, launched two new exciting products in innovative, convenient food formats to help keep families fuller for longer, while on the go. The first, Peperami & Cheese Snack Box, combines two food favourites, 100% pork salami and 100% real mild cheddar cheese and offers a source of calcium and protein for consumers to enjoy on the go. More recently, Peperami brought out Peperami Pep’d Up Chicken Bites, made with 100% chicken breast, high in protein and baked, not fried. The new Bites meet shoppers demands for healthier, less sugar loaded functional snacks. They contain over 20g of protein per 100g and highlight the product’s ‘Protein Kick.’ Research shows 18% of shoppers are happy to pay more for healthy snacks claiming high or added protein.

Fox’s Biscuits, who have been baking biscuits since 1853, are expanding their popular Rocky range with the introduction of 12 Rocky Fun Size bars. At just 61 calories a bar, the new Fox’s Rocky Fun Size bar is more than just a biscuit. Each bar is covered in thick Rocky chocolate coating and provides the perfect permissible, on the go, snack for kids to enjoy after-school or as a lunchbox essential, as well as fuelling weekend adventures for the whole family.

Fox’s Biscuits’ Brand Manager, Depa Patel, says: “The new Fox’s Rocky Fun Size bar is sure to become an instant household essential for both parents and kids to enjoy. Fox’s Biscuits are stepping up innovation within the category and at only 61 calories per bar, the fun size bar far exceeds the government’s under 100 calories initiative, coming in with considerably fewer calories than competitors on the market.”

Also ideal for the Back to School market. Nairn’s, the gluten free brand, is taking free from snacking to the next level with new Pop Oats, the first ever, gluten free popped oat snack, and an Oat Bar range with 40% less sugar than the average fruit/cereal bar.

With so few oat-based ‘crisp alternatives’ on the market, Nairn’s oat expertise puts them right the forefront of oat innovation. The launch of Nairn’s Pop Oats marks an exciting development for the brand and the whole free from category, which traditionally has had fewer savoury snack options versus sweet.

Light, crispy and full of flavour, Nairn’s Pop Oats compete with other popular popped snacks from a taste and texture perspective, with the added health benefits of being made from gluten free wholegrain oats. At only 83 calories per pack, they are a source of fibre and have 60% less fat than regular fried crisps.

The introduction of Pop Oats coincides with the launch of the new Nairn’s Oat Bar range, which plays straight into the growing ‘on the go’ occasion. The gluten free flapjack-style bars contain 40% less sugar than the average fruit/cereal bar, with the added health benefits of being made from gluten free wholegrain oats. The range is high in fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals, and all three bars are suitable for vegans.

Martyn Gray, Managing Director at Nairn’s comments, “Demand for freefrom products has never been higher, and research shows younger shoppers are looking for convenient & healthy snacking options to consume ‘on the go’, which don’t compromise on taste. As oats and health have always been at the heart of everything Nairn’s do, we don’t have to add extra sugar or fat to make our gluten free products taste great and that’s central to our overall brand philosophy of simple, natural and wholesome.”

School catering is also an important opportunity for cash & carries and delivered wholesalers, says Alison Smith, Product Developer for Mars Food Europe:

“Ensuring school children are getting the correct nutrition throughout the day is hugely important and is the main factor for consideration when caterers look to create their weekly menus. However, with limited preparation time, increasing allergen concerns and the tastes of children to consider as well, creating a menu which ticks all the boxes can be a daunting prospect for many school caterers.”

By using DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® and UNCLE BEN’S® PROFESSIONAL®ready-to-use sauces, school caterers can be safe in the knowledge that the sauces they are using meet school guidelines.

Developed with convenience, versatility and quality in mind, all DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® and UNCLE BEN’S® PROFESSIONAL® ready-to-use foodservice sauces are compliant with the 2017 PHE salt targets, as well as suitable for gluten free and vegetarian diets. 13 out of the 17 sauces are also suitable for vegans, which enables school caterers to easily cater for those following a variety of free-from diets. UNCLE BEN’S PROFESSIONAL® and DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® sauces also contain no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, and 10 of the foodservice sauce range have less than 3g fat per 100g. As well as nutrition and health, it’s important that school caterers equally focus on creating appropriate options that will appeal to the taste buds of children. Perfect for creating a whole host of dishes, DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® and UNCLE BEN’S PROFESSIONAL® ready-to-use sauces allow bright and exciting colours to be incorporated into dishes, which is sure to engage and appeal to children.

DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® and UNCLE BEN’S PROFESSIONAL® sauces can also be used to incorporate a wider variety of ethnic flavours onto the school menu, a good opportunity to allow children to familiarise themselves with new cuisines from around the world in a comfortable environment.

From mild Indian sauces such as Tikka Masala, to more exotic flavours from the Far East such as Sweet and Sour and the sauce, Katsu, school caterers can create an aesthetic and tasty ethnic offering with DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® and UNCLE BEN’S PROFESSIONAL®.

UNCLE BEN’S® Long Grain Rice can be cooked in 10-14 minutes and parboiled in a patented process. This not only ensures a faster cooking time, but means the grains of rice remain separate during cooking, making the rice less likely to be sticky. When catering for a high volume of students, yield and cost effectiveness is a significant consideration. 50g of uncooked UNCLE BEN’S® Long Grain Rice provides 150g cooked rice.

UNCLE BEN’S® Wholegrain Rice can also be cooked quickly, in just 10 minutes, half the time compared to standard wholegrain rice. Both types of rice hold in perfect condition for up to 2 hours in a bain marie, for minimal wastage and consistency. By using such a high-quality rice, like the UNCLE BEN’S range, school caterers know that they will be serving authentic, delicious rice dishes that satisfy children.”

DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® and UNCLE BEN’S® PROFESSIONAL® ready-to-use foodservice sauces are all compliant with the 2017 PHE salt targets, as well as being suitable for a gluten free diet and contain no artificial flavours,* colours or preservatives as well as 10 out of the 17 UNCLE BEN’S PROFESSIONAL® and DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® sauces being low in fat (less than 3g fat per 100g). The tomato-based DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® sauces include an average of 75% tomato, whilst a 90g portion of the DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® sauces contains one of the recommended five-a-day.

Available in Foodservice specific jars (2.3kg – 2.54kg) and delivering a high yield of between 25-30 adult portions as a sauce, the DOLMIO PROFESSIONAL® & UNCLE BEN’S PROFESSIONAL® foodservice ranges help caterers to extend their menus and manage consistency for large numbers. The sauces are also ambient, easy to store with no need for fridge space when unopened. The ‘healthy’ food and drink market has exploded in recent years and continues to grow, with new products arriving on shelves every week and being lapped up by consumers, particularly millennials, who have a greater than ever awareness of health and wellness and how diet and nutrition fit in.

This shift in consumers’ food and drink preferences is having a direct effect on the back to school market too. Soft drinks makers Radnor Hills have been busy in the NPD department over the summer, says Holly Sparrow, Marketing Executive, refreshing their label designs and recipes as well as launching new products which are all suitable for the school drinks sector. Radnor Hills’ most popular range Radnor Fizz has had a rebrand, the result of an ongoing project working with secondary school students to get their input and feedback, making Radnor Hills’ one of the first to launch a new label design which is designed by students, for students!

But it doesn’t stop there; Radnor Hills are also launching Radnor Fruits, a new range of products in a 330ml can format, with eye catching, colourful designs. This new range is free from artificial preservatives, colours and flavourings and contains absolutely no added sugar. Each can contributes to one of the recommended 5-a-day portions of fruit and veg.

Radnor Hills have also been busy planning their next on-pack promotion, working once again with Europe’s largest entertainment company Merlin Entertainments to offer ‘Teens Go Free’ tickets to some of the UK’s top attractions with the purchase of a fullpriced adult ticket. This will be their biggest on-pack promotion yet, with 30 million promotional packs heading into schools up and down the country in September.

To make the most of back to school soft drinks sales Barr Soft Drinks is advising retailers and wholesalers to stock up on trusted, quality brands which represent value, convenience and great taste in order. Barr offers a wide range of convenient products ideal for the lunchbox occasion, including popular children’s juice drink brand Simply Fruity and Strathmore Water, ideal for the Back to School occasion.

“Back to school represents a key opportunity for retailers and getting the balance right on the fixture is key,” advises Adrian Troy, Marketing Director for Barr Soft Drinks. It’s essential to stock up on brands which not only taste great but are trusted by parents. Water is a must-stock for back to school and format is key. Trusted water brand Strathmore, currently growing at +20%, is available in a range of pack sizes including 330ml which is the perfect size for lunchboxes.

The brand also offers a flavoured water variant, Strathmore Twist, growing at +44%. Available in Strawberry & Blackberry and Lemon & Lime flavours, Strathmore Twist is Scottish water with a twist of natural fruit flavour which is a popular lunchbox choice.

Barr’s Simply Fruity brand is also ideally suited to the back to school occasion and now has a new, impactful bottle design with bright colours and a fun, textured design. The competitivelypriced range includes four great flavours; Blackcurrant and Apple, Orange, Apple and Strawberry, all of which contain no added sugar and are available in convenient 330ml bottles with sports caps.

“Back to school represents a key opportunity for wholesalers and retailers and our modernised Simply Fruity packs offer additional standout on-shelf for this occasion,” says Troy. “Not only do kids love the great flavours, but parents recognise it as a brand which will deliver on value without compromising on quality and taste.”

As more consumers, including parents of school age children, look to make positive changes in their lifestyles to be healthier, the demand for low and zero sugar food and drink options is growing, says Amy Burgess, Senior Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners. This has encouraged the growth of lunchboxes as people increasingly turn to homeprepared options for lunch, so they have more control over their calorie intake.

“We’ve seen the lunchbox opportunity expand over the past few years. It now covers many more occasions beyond traditional school lunches, including work, college, afterschool treat and weekend family lunches while on-the-go at a theme park or on a day trip. As a result, lunchbox contents have diversified and more options are required to meet consumers’ changing needs and preferences.”

“Consumers have a greater awareness of health and wellness than ever before, and this is impacting the content of their lunchboxes. It has not only influenced their food choices, but also the soft drinks they have with it.

“We have seen an increasing love of low and no sugar products in their own right. Diet Coke remains the most popular light cola brand, while Coca- Cola zero sugar is growing significantly, currently up 53% in value. Our Light Cola flavours have also proved extremely popular. Diet Coke Exotic Mango, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, Coca- Cola zero sugar Peach are now worth £20m since launching in March 2018 with 60% of sales incremental to the cola segment. As a result of this success, we’ve expanded our range of light colas further with two new flavours – Coca- Cola zero sugar Raspberry and Diet Coke Twisted Strawberry.

“Our flavoured carbonates, which includes zero sugar variants across our portfolio, are growing 17% in value, highlighting the popularity of brands like Fanta Zero. To make the most of this, we evolved our portfolio even further earlier this year with a new grape-flavoured addition to our Fanta Zero range, Fanta Grape Zero. One-third of young adults between 16 and 19 drink Fanta so we listened to what this consumer group wants with our latest innovation, which is made with natural flavours and is Soft Drinks Tax-exempt.”

“In addition, we are providing smaller pack formats to give more choice to consumers. Our 150ml single serve formats are perfect for consumers that want more portion control while on-the-go, at home or as part of a lunchbox or snack.

“There is also a demand for larger can formats amongst consumers who want a slightly larger serve while still consuming less than a 330ml can. With this in mind, we have rolled out a 200ml ‘Mini’ can multipack. This Mini format is available in 4x200ml (Coca-Coca original taste) and 6x200ml multi-packs across our Coca-Cola zero sugar, Diet Coke, Fanta, Fanta Zero, Sprite Zero and Dr Pepper Zero brands.”

Looking at CCEP’s recent product developments of particular relevance to Back to School, Capri-Sun is the most popular juice drink brand in GB in “future consumption” format. This year to date 10% more households in GB are buying the Capri-Sun brand demonstrating that new flavour innovation like Capri-Sun Cherry 330ml resealable pouch and transition to 50% less sugar across Capri-Sun original variants is helping to attract a broader range of shoppers, beyond younger consumers to adults, who now account for three-quarters of 330ml Capri-Sun pack consumption.

In March 2019, CCEP relaunched Capri-Sun Fruity Water in a transparent pouch format, the first of its kind in the UK market, enabling adults and children to see the clear liquid inside, highlighting that the brand contains no added sugar, no preservatives and no artificial colours or sweeteners.

Lunchtime is often an occasion for students to take a moment to unwind and Fuze Tea contains a relaxing blend of ingredients, perfect to be enjoyed while taking a pause during a busy school day. The brand is also encouraging consumers to relax and enjoy a little me-time this summer with its latest multi-millionpound campaign, which includes an ASMR podcast and sampling to drive trial of the product. Back to School is a key occasion for milk drinks, and YAZOO in particular, says Wayne Thompson, Customer Marketing Manager at YAZOO.

With its 95% or higher milk content and calcium, protein and vitamin B2, YAZOO helps to keep students fuller for longer, says Wayne Thompson. Also, being sugar levy exempt, its audience is increasing as more and more consumers choose alternatives to traditional soft drinks. In 2018 we saw 15% of consumers switch to milk drinks from other soft drinks. Now found in 3.4million households, YAZOO is outperforming the flavoured milk category by +11.8%.

Flavoured milk remains a taste-led category, and YAZOO Original’s 400ml bottles are very popular with teens. Available in the best-selling flavours:

Chocolate, Strawberry, Banana and Vanilla, as well as brand new Choc Caramel, YAZOO make a great after school treat. Also part of the YAZOO portfolio, YAZOO KiDS is the only flavoured milk on the market with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Available in a 200ml bottle, it fits in a lunchbox, and is an ambient product which can last throughout the day out of the fridge.

The new school year signals the return of parents looking to stock up on items for their children’s daily lunchboxes. It presents an opportunity that retailers cannot miss, says Becky Unwin, Senior Brand Manager, Vimto Soft Drinks.

Vimto’s wide portfolio of products meets a variety of tastes and need states for this occasion. Their Vimto Minis No Added Sugar RTD 250ml bottle and Tetra Pak formats are popular with children and parents alike, offering healthy hydration and the Vimto flavour that kids love. They are available as multi packs, for retailers to include in their lunchbox offering to attract parents purchasing lunchbox drinks for multiple days.

Water is another key part of Vimto’s offering: “As health remains high on the agenda with the media spotlight on childhood obesity,” says Becky, “water is increasingly becoming a key part of lunchbox offerings. But as any parent will tell you, it’s not always simple getting your children to drink enough water!”

Vim2o minis are a still spring water drink flavoured with a hint of the unique Vimto taste, containing no added sugar. “Aimed at those parents who know their children don’t like the taste of plain water, but want to make sure they stay hydrated throughout the day, The flavoured water market is booming, with current growth of +8.4%. Teens are also a key back to school target, says Becky Unwin, and Vimto are continuing to engage them with their biggest campaign to date, spending over £3.5m on TV, social and digital as part of ‘I see Vimto in You’, which is disruptive and refreshingly different, just like Vimto.

Vimto is performing really well in the grab and go lunch market – purchased primarily by teens. It is currently the fastest growing RTD brand, with value growing +19% YTD. “Soft drinks are a key part of the grab and go market, so it’s essential to stock a variety alongside any food-to-go fixture. Our 500ml sports cap is our fastest growing packaging format, it’s up +24%, which certainly reflects the rise in instant refreshment.”

Finally, in today’s allergy-conscious climate, food allergens are an important area for parents to focus on as a child accidently eating someone else’s packed lunch could cause serious health issues. Laura Brickley, Product Manager Retail at Avery UK, says this is one of the reasons Avery felt it necessary to create easy to use name labels for packed lunchboxes which can be written on quickly, even on the school run:

“Our labels make sure children’s lunches aren’t at risk. If the labels are positioned alongside the lunchbox and back to school range in a grocery store this can create an impulse purchase.” Avery UK’s new labels are also perfect for keeping busy families organised. Laura Brickley explains: “Our labels help identify all school items, from lunchboxes to stationery and from shoes to uniform. So often children lose items, or they get mixed up with other children’s. Too often schools are throwing out unnamed items that can’t be returned and parents are having to buy new items.

“We also realise how time-consuming naming items has traditionally been which is why our labels can be handwritten on, so each item is labelled in a matter of seconds. Parents can even leave the labels in the car for lastminute naming on the school run.”

Avery’s pointers to profit

Displaying all back to school, college and university products in one location not only makes it less stressful for parents or students but it can increase sales for savvy stores who have created eye-catching displays. It’s a costly time of year so special deals, carefully targeted at local mums and dads or students can make a big difference when it comes to purchasing.

By displaying the new label ranges alongside packed lunch food and back to school products, it can lead to an impulse purchase as parents worry about these expensive items getting mislaid. The new family range from Avery UK gives parents peace of mind that any lost items can easily be returned. The new labels’ low price making them an attractive choice for all parents or students looking to save money throughout the year.

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