Unilever is giving health-conscious consumers a helping hand with the launch of a new range of ‘convenient’ one-shot fruit and vegetable-based drinks.

It used to be an apple a day that kept the doctor away. However, in our health-crazed society, you now have to add an orange, a pear, a carrot and maybe a stick of celery to prevent a visit to the local medic’s surgery, according to the Department of Health, which recommends we eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day if we are to remain healthy.

The health of the nation has been this year’s recurring theme and Unilever is set to tap into it with the creation of the first non-dairy one-shot health drink range - Vie Shots. It will, claims Unilever, make up one of the five helpings needed to get consumers through the day.

Unilever UK Foods business manager Julie Gilroy says: “Most people know they should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day but it can still be hard to achieve. Consumers are unwilling to change their habits and are looking for quick fixes. “The one-shot health drinks category is the fastest growing category in fast moving consumer goods, growing at 76% year on year and is made up entirely of dairy products. Vie Shots represent an opportunity for new penetration and new growth.”

Aimed at people aged 25-40 who live busy lives and eat healthy food but not at the expense of taste or convenience, the Vie Shots come in three flavours - apple, carrot & strawberry; orange, banana & carrot; and banana, pumpkin & kiwi - and are available in multi-packs of three 100ml bottles with a rrp of £1.89.

Unilever hopes the shots will extend consumption occasions for one-shot drinks from breakfast time to throughout the day and bring younger consumers into the one-shot health drinks market.

Gilroy continues: “With Vie Shots we want to introduce new consumers to the category and drive new usage occasions. “At present, 91% of one-shot health drinks are consumed at breakfast. We believe Vie Shots should not be confined to the breakfast occasion and hope to use it to open up the category for all-day usage. We also hope to bring in 26-40-year-old consumers, where interest in the five-a-day concept is at its strongest. The current core market for one-shot health drinks is people aged 35-64.”

The launch of Vie Shots, which have been placed on shelves in Belgium and Holland since earlier in the year, is backed by a £6m marketing campaign, including TV advertising to be on screen during August and September, in-store activity and a nationwide sampling campaign of more than two million bottles.

Gilroy concludes: “These days the majority of people’s eating habits are made up of two categories - credits and debits. “Vie Shots are aimed at the credit side but in a convenient package for those who want natural ingredients in their daily diet but without any hassle.”