Should Bottled Water Companies Target Kids?
The NPD Group has taken First lady Michelle Obama’s campaign encouraging kids to drink more water in a new, opportunistic direction. NPD is advocating that bottled water companies step up their efforts to sell bottled water to kids.
There are so many things wrong with the bottled water industry (sly marketing ploys, oceans of PET’ around the world, etc…) So, I was not surprised to read about the newest marketing tactic being considered by big bottled water: The targeting of kids. According to cspnet.com, the NPD Group, a retail consulting and data firm, has taken First lady Michelle Obama’s campaign encouraging kids to drink more water in a new, opportunistic direction. Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst says bottled water companies should step up their efforts to sell bottled water to kids.
“Beverage companies and retailers can step up and support the effort by promoting the health benefits of drinking water and beverages with little or zero calories to parents and kids.”
Given the fact that kids don’t drink as much water as they could or should, this presents an interesting dilemma. The simple answer is that kids should be encouraged to use reusable water bottles when on the go. When looking at tap water vs. bottled water we know that tap water is less expensive and just as healthy as bottled water. Not to mention that single-use water bottles are a huge environmental problem.
On the flip side, reusable water bottles are totally mainstream. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested 32 reusable, BPA-Free Water Bottles BPA-free water bottles and found several options that are spill-proof, easy to use, durable, stylish, and easy to clean starting at $4 a bottle. The solution seems simple, right? Reusable water bottles are healthy, environmentally better and inexpensive. But what happens when you’re on the go and you stop in at a 7-11 to grab some drinks? Shouldn’t kids be encouraged to grab the bottled water instead of the sugary soda or ice tea? The reality is that soft drink companies are not going to promote reusable water bottles. But, soft drinks companies all sell bottled water and so any movement toward marketing water to kids — if it offsets marketing of soft drinks — is probably a good thing.
While I’d love to see retailers encourage parents and kids to reach for reusable bottles, soft drink companies aren’t going to help (the truth is that most retailers do in fact sell inexpensive reusable bottles). And since retailers typically promote whatever the soft drink companies pay them to, its up to the soft drink companies. So, if parents and kids aren’t reaching for reusable bottles, I suppose reaching for a bottle of water over a Coke is the right way to go.
What do you think about water companies targeting kids? Please let us know.