Nestlé says it is scrapping its Junior range of snacks and drinks for toddlers, less than a year after its UK launch, because of disappointing sales.
But since the introduction of the range last October, the Swiss food giant has been dogged by claims that one of its fruit-based biscuit sticks could damage youngsters’ teeth.
Nestlé also agreed to add a warning label to sesame sticks after liaising with pressure group The Anaphylaxis Campaign because of concerns the product could cause potentially fatal allergic reactions in toddlers.
Targeting children aged between one and three years, Nestlé Junior was positioned as a nutritional range and featured a Blue Bear icon.
The launch was supported by a &£2m poster, press and radio campaign, created by Ogilvy & Mather, which used the strapline “Food That’s Good For Both of You”.
The range included milk and honey biscuits, sesame sticks and banana and apple fruit sticks. Two fruit splash drinks in orange & apple, and pear & blackcurrant flavours were also available.
Independent chemists and major supermarkets – including Safeway, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – which stock Nestlé Junior will begin removing the products from shelves during the next month.
A recent report by independent food watchdog The Food Commission highlighted the Junior fruit stick as a product containing high levels of sugar, claiming it could damage toddlers’ teeth.
But Nestlé denies the Junior brand is being scrapped owing to concerns about ingredients. A spokeswoman says: “The brand has experienced disappointing sales and we decided it was not viable in the long term. Over 98 per cent of the sugar in Fruit Stick occurs naturally in the dried fruit.”