Sam Moore
Sam is a Global Food & Drink Analyst at Mintel, specialising in dairy and beverages.

According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), Asia Pacific leads the way for kid-targeted functional dairy drinks. In contrast, the focus in North America appears to be around fortification—dairy drinks that are fortified with vitamins or minerals.

Moreover, Mintel research reveals that dairy drinks are credible in delivering functional health benefits to children and are already perceived as being healthy for the little ones. Indeed, over half of consumers in China agree that milk is good for kids.

However, the market is becoming saturated with a lack of stand-out innovation in kids’ functional dairy drinks, forcing companies, brands and manufacturers to reinvent their propositions and address new health concerns.

Mintel research indicates that beyond the standard bone health claim, there is potential for kid-targeted dairy drinks with probiotics, eye health and brain development claims to refresh the saturated marketplace.

Asian consumers are concerned over eye health

Spending too much time looking at screens and using digital devices can bring detrimental effects to eye health. A study pushed in the journal PLOS One has shown that children who spend seven hours or more a week using computers or mobile video games, triple their risk for myopia or nearsightedness. In light of this, products that help with eye health will appeal to today’s modern consumer.

In fact, a quarter of Chinese parents have indicated their interest in food and drinks for children that are good for their eyes. Meanwhile, almost half of functional food and drink users in urban Thailand have consumed products with functional properties that help maintain or improve their eyesight.

Vitamin E to prevent cataracts

Wildan Adek Vanilla Flavoured Goat Milk Powder from Malaysia
contains vitamin A to protect healthy eyes and vitamin E, which reduces the risk of cataracts.

Lutein for healthy eyes

Klim Growing Up Milk from Taiwan
contains high calcium, probiotics and lutein, which can help keep eyes healthy and brimming.

What we think

Eye health is a good opportunity, especially in Asia where parents are becoming increasingly concerned about the adverse effects of increasing screen time. As well, dairy drinks companies, brands and manufacturers can appeal to parents by highlighting functional benefits beyond just bone health, such as height development, immunity, tooth decay and brain development.