Mayfield Heights, OH—Functional ingredients can make children’s beverages more innovative and nutritional,according to a press releasefrom Kerry, maker of Wellmune.

The release cites market analysis from Euromonitor showing that the global beverage market is expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2022. Many products in the category are consumed by children: Mintel research, the release says, shows that in the U.S., 94% of six- to eleven-year-olds drink juice, and in the U.K., 80% of kids consume fruit juices and smoothies. That said, the release adds, few beverage products are created for children, and there is little innovation in the children’s beverages category.

A new white paper from Wellmune found that 80% of parents say that their choice of product is influenced by how it will affect their children’s health and well-being, and that most prefer that their kids get nutrients from food and drink, rather than pills.

The release notes that immune health is a wide-open area for innovation: Keeping kids well is a priority for parents, but only 2% of globally launched children’s food and drink products between 2012 and 2017 carried an immune system claim. Nearly 9 in 10 (87%) consumers said they would be interested in buying a juice product if it contained Wellmune, shown in clinical studies to reduce upper respiratory tract infections.

John Quilter, Wellmune’s VP and GM, said in the release: “While strategies such as sugar reduction are important, the real opportunity to differentiate kids’ beverage products lies in the use of healthy, clinically proven functional ingredients. They can further support the health halo of functional beverages for children, increasing appeal to parents and allowing products to stand out from the crowd. They could well be the key to giving the children’s beverage space the innovation boost it needs.”

Download the white paperhere.