09/05/2012 02:23 BST | Updated 09/05/2012 10:50 BST

McDonald's Launch Kid-Friendly ‘Five-A-Day Drink'

A fizzy drink that promises children one of their five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables, will go on sale in McDonald's from next week.

New drink 'Fruitizz' will be served at the counter from May 16, alongside other soft drink staples, in response to research by the company that found children found this "more exciting and desirable".

As part of the fast food giant's efforts to improve the health credentials of its children's meals, the drink contains no added sugars, artificial colours or flavours and blends 60% fruit juice from grapes, apples and raspberries with natural sparkling water.

McDonald's chief executive and president Jill McDonald said: "For the past three years, we have been working hard behind the scenes to create a fizzy drink that is unlike anything else currently available in high street restaurants.

"We tried and tested 80 formulations in order to create the right product that delivers nutritional benefit as well as a new, exciting taste."

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The new drink follows the introduction of carrot sticks, fruit bags, mineral water and organic semi-skimmed milk to McDonald's Happy Meal menu.

Children's Food Campaign spokesman Malcolm Clark said: "It's encouraging to see companies like McDonald's making it easier for parents to make healthier choices for their children.

"The best news for children's health will be if fruit-based drinks start to displace sugary drinks such as Coca-Cola from children's menus in McDonald's."

Sasha Watkins, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, added that although it was great to see healthier alternatives to soft drinks being made available, parents should remember that fruit juice - while being high in nutrients such as Vitamin C - is also full of sugar.

"Only one 150ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice can count towards our five a day. Water is still the best drink choice for both children and adults."

Richard Laming, media director of the British Soft Drinks Association, also cautioned against expecting too much from health-targeted products.

"The soft drinks market is fast-moving, dynamic and always open to new, innovative products. New drinks can survive if consumers like them, but if they don’t find a following, they won’t last.

"It’s consumer taste that shapes the market."

Positive Parenting