Britvic Soft Drinks has heralded the creation of a whole new drinks category with the launch of a "revolutionary" new carbonated milk-based concept.
Freekee Soda, a fizzy blend of milk and real fruit juice, has been under development for three years and marks Britvic's latest foray into the lucrative children's soft drinks sector.
The new addition to the Britvic stable is targeted at "tweens," children aged between 10 and 13 years-old, and is designed to sit next to Britvic's Fruit Shoot range in family and food-led pubs.
Andrew Marsden, category director at Britvic, said: "Freekee Soda is a distinctly different type of soft drink. It will tap into a whole new profit opportunity for licensees. Kids are the most important soft drink consumers and they love fizzies. They are also looking for something new, exciting and different.
"We have some pretty high ambitions for this product and it has restored innovation to the carbonated drinks sector - something that's been lacking for more than a decade."
A blend of four per cent milk and seven per cent fruit juice with no added sugar, Freekee Soda boasts a shelf life of six months and a recommended retail price of 99p for a 330ml bottle.
The two flavours, Strange Strawberry and Odd Orange, are due to be rolled-out into the on-trade in March and Britvic has set aside £6.5m to support the launch with TV advertising earmarked for the summer.
A spokesperson for Britvic added: "The key opportunity is where pubs are selling unbranded low cost kids packs. There's a real opportunity for licensees to make more money by selling premium packaged soft drinks with premium prices and substantial support behind them."
Meanwhile, Britvic is urging independent pubs to place more emphasis on soft drinks. Latest figures reveal that soft drinks are growing above the market rate in both managed and leased/tenanted outlets.
However, independents continue to lag behind.
Sue Garfitt, director of category planning at Britvic, said: "If independents take on board some of the lessons that managed and leased/tenanted outlets have learnt in the past few years, they will see significant soft drinks growth."