Tetra Pak Carton Ambient has launched a new straw concept, Sensory Straw. Targeted at children and young teenagers it "squirts" liquids directly into the drinker's mouth.
After market tests were carried in the UK and Australia, Tetra Pak said that comments like "tickling", "fun" and "it squirts" were spontaneously expressed, especially by the older children.
The difference between a traditional straw and the Sensory Straw is that while the first is a plain tube, the Sensory Straw has a flat top with four small holes instead of just one big one. This configuration makes the liquid flow in four directions in the mouth at the same time, which the company says "changes the drinking experience for the consumer".
"Children and young teenagers in the age group 8 to 14 are particularly sensitive to this change and really appreciate this new way of drinking," a company spokesman said. "In fact, during tests, as many as 72 per cent preferred the Sensory Straw compared to the traditional one."
The Sensory Straw is aimed at juice, nectar and flavoured milk drinkers and is a way for Tetra Pak to renew its existing core portion Tetra Brik Aseptic (TBA) packages and/or products, at a limited cost. The company added that it is possible to use the installed straw applicators without any technical modification.
At product release, the Sensory Straw will come in the shape of a U-straw, (165 mm, 5 mm) with sealed top and four holes punched equally around the top end of the straw. The straw itself is white and attached to the package in a transparent bag. In the beginning, the Sensory Straw will be fitted to TBA 200 S, TBA 200 M, TBA 250 B or TBA 355 B packages.
Australia will be the first country in the world to commercially introduce the product. The launch will be made on TBA 250 B packages of flavoured milk produced by the company Parmalat. Some six million packages are scheduled to go to market this month, to coincide with the new school year.
To date, consumer research, carried out in seven schools targeting children aged between seven and 12, reports that response to the straws has been very strong.
If the launch is successful in the Australian market it is expected that the product will then be launched in other markets, including Europe.