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Children’s Drink Facts 2019: You Shouldn’t Have to Be a Nutritionist to Understand What’s in These Drinks!

A new report from the UConn Rudd Center found that companies spent $1.4 billion total to advertise children’s drinks with added sugars and/or diet sweeteners in 2018, primarily to kids under age 12. Check out additional key findings of the report, as well as recommendations on how to improve children’s drink marketing practices.


Last week, the UConn Rudd Center released Children’s Drink FACTS 2019, the latest in a series of FACTS reports on the sales, nutrition and marketing of children’s drinks. They found that sweetened fruit drinks and flavored waters that contain added sugars and/or low-calorie sweeteners dominated the sales of drinks intended for children in 2018.

Here are a few key findings from the report:

  • Similar claims and branding on packages of sweetened children’s drinks and drinks without added sweeteners (100% juice and juice/water blends) may confuse consumers about the ingredients and healthfulness of these drinks. For example, 85% of children’s sweetened drink packages contained images of fruit, regardless of whether the product contained any fruit juice; claims about low sugar content and Vitamin C were also prevalent.
  • Children saw more than twice as many TV ads for children’s sweetened drinks than for children’s drinks without added sweeteners. 
  • There was evidence of targeted marketing of sweetened drinks to children of color. Sunny D and Capri Sun devoted 25% of their TV advertising to Spanish-language TV, and Minute Maid appeared to target Black children and parents with advertising for sweetened children’s drinks, including Minute Maid Lemonade fruit drink. 

The report includes a full range of policy recommendations to improve children’s drink marketing practices including calling on beverage manufacturers to clearly indicate on the front of packages that a product contains added sugars and/or low-calorie sweeteners and encouraging state and local governments to enact sugary drink excise taxes.

Children’s Drink FACTS 2019 follows the Healthy Eating Research beverage consensus statement released in September that recommends that all children 5 and under should avoid drinking sugar-and low-calorie sweetened beverages.


Want to make progress in your community? Check out our Sugary Drinks Toolkit.