The event, now one of the highlights in the British bottled water industry calendar, marked the fifth anniversary of the not-for-profit organisation’s creation.
The NHC represents over 50% of the bottled water industry in the UK and was founded by Danone Waters UK & Ireland Ltd, Nestlé Waters and Highland Spring in 2008. The achievements of this small organisation are particularly remarkable considering it was established by rivals in a fiercely competitive industry.
The AGM opened with Sally Stanley from Highland Spring, Alex Valk from Danone and Sian Chapman from Nestlé Waters reminding us of the negative landscape that faced the industry five years ago. Key achievements from the NHC were shared, which included the formation of a highly impactful and knowledgeable science panel, successful challenges against advertising campaigns which denigrate the bottled water category, a strategic hydration campaign with Netmums and the creation of a wealth of scientifically rigorous hydration education materials.
Giles Quick, director of communications at Kantar World panel, followed with a fascinating insight into how consumer behaviour is affected by economic and societal changes. Kantar’s study tracked the nutritional information in supermarket shopping baskets, with some truly jaw-dropping findings. One of the most interesting findings he shared was that shoppers who purchase bottled water are the most likely to have a healthier shopping basket overall – one more reason to snap up that bottle next time you’re at the shops.
Myles Bremner’s talk on the newly launched School Food Plan prompted much debate from the NHC’s outspoken scientific experts who questioned the methodology of the 16-point plan and argued that while it may improve the quality of school lunchtimes, more would need to be done outside the school to have any real impact on obesity.
The NHC’s scientific expertise – Dr Leigh Gibson of the University of Roehampton, Dr Emma Derbyshire of Manchester Metropolitan University, and Professor Tom Sanders of King’s College London – then took to the floor for a series of talks that demonstrated the science underpinning the NHC.
Dr Leigh Gibson outlined some key barriers that often prevent children from eating healthily, and shared some scientifically endorsed methods for getting around them. He revealed that repeated exposure to disliked food could actually turn a child’s opinion around, providing they consumed the food five times within a positive social context. He also revealed that rewarding children for eating their vegetables tended to be more effective if a sticker was used than praise alone.
Dr Derbyshire’s talk reminded us all of the importance of hydration among children, showing studies that proved the link between adequate hydration and health and well-being among young people.
Professor Sanders then gave a valuable insight into the confusing world of recommended fluid intakes, explaining the evidence-based guidance issued by the European Food Safety Authority and the recently approved health claims for water.
The afternoon was completed with a fascinating insight into the world of social media courtesy of digital guru Deola Laniyan of We Are Social. Deola’s talk showed how social media and above the line marketing campaigns are becoming increasingly integrated.
Source: Natural Hydration Council
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