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Sports drinks surge in popularity during back to school

Upticks in produce also seen during five-week stretch

Sports drinks saw a 35% rise in sales when compared to the average week during the stretch between Aug. 13 and Sept.10 2016. According to a recent Nielsen Insights report, the five-week span that signals the back-to-school (BTS) shopping period is the sweet spot for the beverage subcategory.

"While there is definitely seasonality to sports drinks [aligning to hot weather and outdoor sports in the fall], there is a spike in the weeks heading back to school,” said Andrew Mandzy, director of health & wellness strategic insights at Nielsen. “In addition, households may perceive sports drinks as a healthier alternative to soda or juice boxes that would typically go into lunches."  

The report, Getting Back to Basics for Back to School Lunchtime & Snacking Needs, also found that consumers spent 37% more on sports drinks that were free of artificial sweeteners and 19% more on those that were free of sugar during BTS.

Low-sodium sports drink options, choices without artificial colors and those containing antioxidant properties also had strong showings.

There is other evidence that health is top of mind for those packing school lunches. The study also found that produce enjoyed a significant surge during the BTS period.

Mangos led fresh produce in volume growth last year with a 74% increase when compared to 2015.

Nielsen’s found that at $22.5 million—nearly a 34% rise in dollar growth compared to 2015. Mangos may not have been the top-selling fruit, but they are carrying the most momentum into this year as parents begin planning the initial school lunches.

Apples led the produce category in dollar sales in 2016, claiming about $244 million of the market, a 9% improvement over 2015 year’s BTS period. This generated a 2% uptick in volume.

Mandarins were also strong players, demonstrating a 30.5% climb in volume and a nearly 26% rise in dollar sales. 

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Twitter: @DanAMX

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