Do you let your kids drink Fruit Shoots?

There is one simple question that splits parents neatly into two groups. Two groups who each take equal offence at the other’s morally reprehensible approach to parenting. If you are looking for something that defines the difference between a yummy mummy and a slummy mummy, this is it.

(Ooooh, what could it be??)

No, it isn’t the breast vs bottle debate.

It has nothing to do with your feelings on state vs private education.

It’s not about washing your hands before meals, or how much television you let your children watch.

It is this:

Should you let children drink Fruit Shoots?

*audible gasp from readers*

Do you let your kids drink Fruit Shoots

Image – 

At the risk of alienating half my audience, I may as well come clean now.

*Stands up and clears throat in AA style*

My name is Jo, I am a mother, and my children drink Fruit Shoots. Sometimes as part of a Happy Meal, which I’m led to believe in some parenting circles is akin to casually mentioning over freshly brewed coffee and cup cakes that you let your children stand next to the bed and watch you have sex.

Admit to a penchant for Fruit Shoots on Mumsnet and you may as well take a gun to your head there and then. In fact, my search on the Mumsnet forums for ‘Fruit Shoot’ came back with over 500 results, too many to list. I refined it to ‘Fruit Shoot Evil’ and it came back with 65 conversation streams. Enough said.

These threads are full of horror stories of poor husbands innocently buying them for their children, (despite being told not to! When will these mumsnet men ever learn to do as they are told??), and of otherwise charming, cultured toddlers throwing down their copies of Classic FM Magazine and turning into savage beasts at the mere sniff of a bottle. According to one mum, if you read the ingredients to the strawberry version backwards whilst listening to Black Sabbath, the devil will appear. Now if that isn’t enough to make you buy one I don’t know what is.

Seriously now ladies, can we get a little perspective here? It is a fruit squash. Sure, it’s a bit sickly and probably water would be better, but it’s not like you’re giving your kids a plastic bottle of meths to swig on while they play their 18 certificate video games. Here’s a little advice for anyone who ever feels the need to care about Fruit Shoots – Get Over It.

My position on Fruit Shoots has always been the same. Ask either of my children. If you can get them to stop twitching and headbutting walls for long enough to string a meaningful sentence together of course.

So, I pose the question again, in the hope of provoking actual fist fights – do you let your children drink Fruit Shoots?



  1. 25 February, 2011 / 9:21 am

    You do make me giggle! Love your style of writing. My older children have drank said drinks but luckily (perhaps judging by your comments) don’t like them! I can stand united with my partner thanks to my kids fussiness :-)

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:40 am

      Perfect! You can pretend to the other parents that you’re principled and the kids are happy too – ideal!

  2. Clare
    25 February, 2011 / 9:22 am

    The group thanks you for sharing. My name is Clare, and in the last 12 months my children have been drinking fizzy drinks at parties.

    I am done with militant mothers telling us what is right and wrong. I am all for the netmums real parenting campaign for the reasons you describe above.

    A spanish friend went to an english child’s party and was astounded to find tomatoes, cucumbers and grapes on the table and only juice being served. In Spain you never have to eat veg at parties and kids drink fanta and eat crisps and nutella sandwiches. I had to explain to her that we english mums have somehow self developed an immense guilt over every parenting matter, perpetuated by some forums – and no, we don’t even let up for parties or the odd fruit shoot. Sounded crazy as I said it.

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:39 am


      I can picture you now saying it, and sort of hestitating over the words as it came out sounding bonkers :-)

    • Tracey
      25 May, 2017 / 7:06 am

      I am one of these terrible mum’s that believes parties are for eating naughty food playing loud silly games and having fun. I know, shocking. Not only do I let me kids have fizzy and cake at other terrible parties but when my own had their parties I didn’t even buy carrot sticks or tomatoes. I did purchase vegetarian friendly foods and check for nut free children though so not quite a total devil. I wish mum’s would get a grip and realise if you make sugar a contraband item as soon as your children have independence you will find sweet wrappers in their room as the darlings sneak these forbidden treats.

      • Jo Middleton
        25 May, 2017 / 8:13 am

        Totally with you Tracey! Pink wafers and party rings all round :-)

  3. 25 February, 2011 / 9:22 am

    OK, here’s which side of the fence I am on – I don’t buy them for my son or any oher soft drinks for that matter. I worked in the soft drinks industry for 10 years. I wouldn’t let my son drink any manufactured soft drink as part of his regular diet. I don’t exclude them totally. He has soft drinks from time to time but it isn’t the norm.

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:38 am

      Which is exactly why I will never work in the chocolate and cake industry…

      • Beth
        1 March, 2011 / 3:27 pm

        Brilliant – I couldn’t do without manufactured sauces for casseroles and mince etc but probably wouldn’t want to use them if I knew the process! What does annoy me is when my son comes back from his dads having had very little sleep and has drunk coke all weekend.

        • 1 March, 2011 / 5:43 pm

          I find it best generally not to think too hard about what you put in your mouth. *said with straight face*

  4. Liz
    25 February, 2011 / 9:23 am

    Ha ha yeah my kids drink fruit shoots too, I know they have artificial sweetners which aren’t the best but it’s not like they are chain drinking them !!

    People should stop trying to live others lives and chill the frig out. Little bit more kindness & less judgement would make things much better.

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:38 am

      Lol @ ‘Chill the frig out’. I think that would make a nice strapline for my blog :-)

  5. 25 February, 2011 / 9:28 am

    Fabarooney!! Love your sense of humour, timing and insight! Bring on the fruit shoots and let the madness begin! Let’s have a little perspective on this – what’s the worst thing that could happen? As long as the kids are happy what does it matter? We could even go over the top and actually admitting to liking McDonalds occasionally ourselves – now that’s an entirely different debate!

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:37 am

      I like McDonalds occasionally myself, even if that makes me a terrible person. I particularly like a quarterpounder and a coke as a hangover cure.

      • ByronsMummy
        17 August, 2013 / 8:46 am

        Me too!!!!!

  6. 25 February, 2011 / 9:33 am

    I’m not a hater, but if I’m honest, I don’t let my daughter drink fruit shoots either. Despite claiming to not having any added preservatives etc, it just doesn’t agree with her. Why stress myself out with a hyper little gremlin for the sake of a treat when sheks creative enough to do it all on her own.

    That said, if your not out in public, or plan on spending the day in the ark, then it could be a good way to get ther to burn out ;-)

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:36 am

      Well you’re quite right of course, no point in PAYING for hyperactivity if you can get it for free.

  7. 25 February, 2011 / 9:33 am


    It never ceases to amaze me how much press coverage is given to perceived issues such as this.

    It’s like everything – moderation! If we believed everything in the Daily Mail we wouldn’t eat anything and we wouldn’t leave the house!

    As the father of a 17 year old and a 14 year old, I too have allowed them the odd Fruit Shoot in the past. So far I have seen no evidence of a Fruit Shoot dependance materialising!

    We have to be careful with our over the top reactions – the last thing we want is for Fruit Shoot to go underground!!!

    My kids have a great moral compass – now that’s important.

    Thanks for the article :0)

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:35 am

      Lol, I like the idea of making Fruit Shoots illegal and creating a black market for them, with toddlers meeting under slides in abandoned parks to buy their supply.

  8. curlyandcandid
    25 February, 2011 / 9:34 am

    Love it, having been a Mumsnet browser in the past (for the funnies mostly), you are spot on with the Fruit Shoot hating, in fact I believe if you let your kids have a fruit shoot and a Greggs sausage roll you are at best a “chav” and at worst, clearly incapable of being a “proper” parent.

    Kieran does not ever drink fruit shoots (because last time I gave one to him hyper was not the word, so they are banned for sanity sake), and he doesn’t get Greggs sausage rolls either (because if I can’t have one, neither can he :p – he can just make do with cheese straws from Thomas The Bakers).
    So am I a good mum then? :p

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:34 am

      Oh dear, my children have eaten sausage rolls from Greggs too. I may as well turn myself in now and have them put into care.

  9. Lee
    25 February, 2011 / 9:41 am

    I must say I am in the “don’t want my kids to drink them” group but it’seasy to be when your kids don’t actually like them. We didn’t even have to influence them into making that decision, which was nice.

    For me though, they are just too sweet and taste a bit to chemically for me.

    I completely understand why people let their kids have them though, they’re easy, quick, come in a non washable bottle and most kids love them, almost to much, almost addictedly so…

    But for me they are just expensive squash. Isn’t it just as easy and much cheaper just to get a bottle of squash and a drink bottle for them?

    This whole debate is almost as pointless as when people say they now stop their kids drinking Innocent Smoothies because they are now owned buy Coca Cola and so are corrupt and impure!

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:33 am

      I didn’t know Innocent were owned by Coca Cola! God, you can’t buy ANYTHING nowadays can you? It’s like the Body Shop selling out to Nestle and Green and Blacks being bought by Cadburys.

  10. 21st century mummy
    25 February, 2011 / 9:57 am

    I am definitely in the “say no to fruitshoots camp”. The regular ones have so much added sugar in them and the low sugar ones have aspartame, an artificial sweetener and other additives. My husband did buy one once for my 3 year old – he incurred my wrath :). I give my daughter watered down fruit juice.

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:31 am

      Haha! I love the thought of him incurring your wrath! Did you beat him? I bet he won’t do it again :-)

  11. 25 February, 2011 / 10:02 am

    I haven’t and won’t buy my children fruit shoots or any other processed drinks. Why on earth would I give them a poor imitation of the real things: water, milk and juice? And I couldn’t care less what any forums say on the subject.
    That’s all.

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:31 am

      But aren’t there similarly things to worry about with stuff like juice, like all the acid causing tooth decay? To be fair, we never have squash at home, they only ever drink water, milk or juice, but that is mainly me being too tight to buy it…

      • Clair Morris
        31 May, 2017 / 9:01 pm

        Let’s face it then, if we’re being purist about it: water is the only thing to drink. Do a little research on where your milk comes from / how it comes / what’s in it (or don’t if you’re like me and live nothing better than a double shot latte!) and you’ll be just as horrified. Fruit shoots won’t seem half as bad…

        • Jo Middleton
          1 June, 2017 / 9:49 am

          A very good point!

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:29 am

      Yes Steve, but you have always been a bit strange.

  12. Lisbeth
    25 February, 2011 / 10:27 am

    JEEZ ARE YOU INSANE? Those things will make your children impotent and probably change their sex.

    No they are full of chemical shit – furthermore as an established breastfeeding EVANGELIST you can’t then wean your children onto Fruit Shoots. They are basically just water and sweeteners with some felt tip pens thrown in for good measure.

    ALSO I worry (and this is my main fear) that they will give children a taste for highly artificial drinks which will feck up their palate and they will then like WKD Blue instead of Pinot Noir. Which is just my worst nightmare ever.


    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:29 am

      But I breastfed Belle for so long PURELY to balance out the guilt of all the bad things I knew I would do later on of course!

      Also, if your DD tells you I gave her Fruit Shoots and Pop Tarts for breakfast last week while you were at work don’t listen to her, she is just hallucinating from all the aspartame.

  13. 25 February, 2011 / 11:23 am

    i am a nanny. I have nothing against Fruit Shoots, I bought one for my current little gremlin. I was genuinely sat down by boss/parent and explained ‘healthy eating’ and why Fruit Shoots are evil. (not at all patronising) Clearly I am an idiot and after 10 years of childcare experience do not know anything about healthy eating and should be prosecuted for child abuse immediately.

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:27 am

      Well clearly… Don’t move, I am calling the police as I type.

  14. Sarah
    25 February, 2011 / 12:48 pm

    I can’t drink Fruit Shoots cause they’re too sweet – and I love Coke! My Son has had them twice and I’ve never liked the results. So no, I don’t give my children Fruit Shoots. Yucky, horrible things.

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:26 am

      They are disgustingly sweet – like neat squash – so obviously I wouldn’t drink them myself. But then everyone knows it is one rule for us, one for the kids…

  15. 25 February, 2011 / 2:50 pm

    haha, I love this blog and the comments! It’s great to get a debate going!
    My little one is 7 months old, so a little too young for that yet. However I am aware of the fruit shoot debate and to be honest believe in all things in moderation, so will not be seething if she does ever come to drink one!
    For the record every now and then I give my girl orange juice (watered down) and chocolate! She needs to learn about the finer things in life (don’t shoot me!)
    Emma x

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:26 am

      Absolutely! Besides, I’m pretty sure chocolate is good for you, packed full of iron and happy chemicals and stuff like that. Honestly. I read it in the Daily Mail. It must be true.

  16. 25 February, 2011 / 4:53 pm

    I have no problem whatsoever with Fruit Shoots. My eldest is 22, my youngest is 18 months old. My kids have survived my lax, devil may care parenting…they have chocolate, sweets, fizzy drinks and Fruit Shoots. They also eat fruit, vegetables and fibre. None of my five children have fillings, none of them suffer from any allergies and they are all pretty well rounded individuals. I’d love to take on the militant opinionated parenting gestapo face to face.

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:25 am

      Good to know you have managed to get a child to the rip old age of 22 without doing any serious damage – I will consider your children an experiment and raise mine accordingly :-)

  17. 25 February, 2011 / 9:56 pm

    Love it. Since reading this first thing this morning I’ve been out to a cafe. And I saw one sitting in the fridge, heard you in my head telling me to Get Over It, but I just couldn’t do it. They just look minging. Plus Phoebe is mental enough without more sugar, I couldn’t take it. I love this article and have posted to all my friends on FB, and made my husband read it who snorted with laughter.

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:23 am

      Haha! I love that my voice is in your head when you’re out in cafes Caroline :-)

      *evil laugh*

      I am like The Demon Headmaster.

  18. 25 February, 2011 / 10:24 pm

    Sorry…. but because of the aspartame in fruit shoots, and the link between it and M.S. I am anti…
    Try drinking it when you’ve detoxed – it’ll give you an awful headache.
    It’s not an innocent juice

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:23 am

      Doesn’t everything give you a headache when you’ve detoxed?

    • 4 March, 2011 / 11:54 am

      Hi Jo,

      A discussion on Fruit Shoots is incomplete unless the dreaded aspartame is also discussed, which for some reason you don’t mention?

      As I feel quite strongly about it, and as there isn’t enough known about it, I wrote a follow up post. I did of course link back to you and Wendy (a post you also inspired).


      • 7 March, 2011 / 7:13 pm

        Thanks for the link Liska,

        You’re right that the aspartame issue is an important one. I didn’t mention it because I am too lazy to find out about it to be honest… *slack*

        • 7 March, 2011 / 7:53 pm

          Thanks so much for replying. Appreciated. xx

  19. 25 February, 2011 / 11:56 pm

    Fabulous, how you made me smile! Yep 2 of my 3 kids like them and have them sometimes….. no biggie. Does that mean I am slummy? because I refuse to be labelled, but then I see I am in good company!

    Mich x

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:21 am

      Yes, it DOES mean you are slummy and I’m afraid that means you have to wear an ACTUAL label so other proper parents will know and be able to steer their children away from your in the soft play area. Sorry.

  20. 26 February, 2011 / 9:33 am

    You are very funny! Seriously tempted to try Black Sabbath and getting a strawberry one! I think like everything it is about moderation and that we are all so obsessed now about health, which don’t get me wrong is important, but if someone suddenly said that chocolate cake was illegal I would have to move countries!!! We need to have a little treat from time to time. That includes happy meals, because lets face it…who doesn’t like the toy!!!

    Loved it, very funny.

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:20 am

      I read your comment out to my boyfriend – ‘See??’ I said, ‘I AM funny! Proof!’ He wasn’t convinced…

      I am all up for treats :-)

  21. 26 February, 2011 / 2:26 pm

    My LO has Fruit Shoots every now and then. They have never made her overly hyper (more than she is anyway) and I don’t really see the difference between letting her have a Fruit Shoot on a day out and letting her have a chocolate biscuit for a treat. (Yes, chocolate, that sugary stuff. She also owns a toothbrush.)

    I’m in the Get Over It camp. But if you don’t want your kids to have them, fine. I don’t really care either way to be honest. It’s fruit squash in a sports bottle…

    • 28 February, 2011 / 9:19 am

      I think you hit the nail on the head with not caring either way! In the grand scheme of things is there really time to care about Fruit Shoots? (Says woman who bothered to write entire blog post about them…)

  22. 28 February, 2011 / 10:14 am

    Ha ha, “how very dare you!” – my favourite phrase ever :)

    • 1 March, 2011 / 5:44 pm

      I love it too :-)

      Looking forward to seeing you for our day of fun on Friday! xx

  23. 1 March, 2011 / 5:41 pm

    HAHA!! Love this post…you always make me giggle! And I needed a giggle today!

    • 1 March, 2011 / 5:43 pm

      Oh dear, are you having a bad day?

      Glad I could help cheer you up :-)

  24. Fiona Firth
    8 March, 2011 / 11:59 am

    Love it. I must be a slummy mummy as mine Drink fruit shoot with abandon. I can’t say I actually buy it though, Simply because I think it is wildly overpriced when a bottle of Robinsons goes so much further :P. Their Nana dosen’t mind paying those prices though so they plow through it at her house :)

    • 8 March, 2011 / 5:49 pm

      Well that sounds like the best of both worlds!

  25. 11 March, 2011 / 3:21 pm

    Have you not heard of their secret powers? I buy them when I’m taking a bunch of 3 yr olds on a photoshoot for work. The minute the kids start looking bored or about to cry about sitting with the same toy smiling for hours on end…..

    Give ’em a Fruit Shoot and a handful of blue Smarties – perks em up instantly!!!! ;-)

  26. 30 March, 2011 / 8:25 pm

    ok so my duaghter isn’t old enough for fruit shoots just yet (only four weeks old lol), but let me say this if she wants a fruit shoot SHE CAN HAVE ONE! lol i dont believe any food or drink makes your child hyper or miss behave, my mum let all four of us have any sweets or drink we wanted (with in reason) and not one of us got out of control. I think that is down to how you bring your child up…. and wherth or not it knows boundries!

    • 31 March, 2011 / 11:34 am

      The ingredients weren’t quite as dodgy when we were young…. We drank innocent things like Ribena where the only concern was sugar. The big thing about Fruit Shoots is the aspartame………

      • 31 March, 2011 / 12:28 pm

        I seem to remember cheap drinks in weird little plastic square tubs where you had to pierce the lid with a straw – I’m not sure they were exactly harmless…

        • Corrina
          25 May, 2017 / 11:18 am

          They were called tiptops! I remember them well. Delicious little frozen rectangles of happiness (yes we froze ours) the cola one was the nicest!!

  27. Marc
    15 May, 2015 / 4:40 pm

    Just happened to come across this page, and the lack of science outstands me… There is a reason why people are against Aspartame et al…. Its not needed, its not a worthy replacement of Sugar and yes., not good for a developing child….

  28. Emma
    15 June, 2015 / 1:08 pm

    My little ones drink them from time to time, i.e mcdaonalds, or out and about and thats what they ask for. My eldest now doesn’t like them, but my youngest prefers water anyway (i’m lucky)
    That being said i do think buying them as an everyday drink in the house is wrong. I know a ‘Nurse’ who has a child and thats the only drink she has, and she drinks ALOT of them. In my opinion it is thoroughly unhealthy and this child has had them stuffed in her mouth since she was 1, i can only imagine what her teeth will be like by the time she is 10…….

  29. Janice
    21 August, 2015 / 5:12 am

    Hell, let’s give them Capri-sun and sunny delight instead! Oh and I give my daughter red bull but I have the vodka.

    Seriously, I take out with me a bottle of squash made up from home but if we run out then fruit short it is. I am not evil, I hide my very little horns under my pony tail and never let my 3 year old have too much alcohol pops either! I understand people don’t like fruit shoots but sometimes in an emergency it’s better than the effects of dehydration (and yes my daughter was on a drip for 4 days when she refused to drink anything whilst having tonsillitis (last time I let her take a swig of a kind homeless persons bottle of cider on our into the city days)
    All I can say is I look after my child to the best of my ability, if the odd random fruit shoot gets in there, then I won’t worry too much!’n

  30. Jordan jarmain
    25 May, 2017 / 9:46 pm

    My little girl occasionally has a fruit shoot when we are out and about. i don’t believe in categorising foods as ‘good’ or ‘evil’. That sort of thinking leads to eating disorders and kids being secretive about their diets as they get older. I’m more of an everything in moderation kind of Mam.

  31. Ninja
    28 May, 2017 / 7:40 pm

    Well it’s the aspartame that means it’s on my evil list, after discovering it is the source of my son’s epilepsy. Aspartame a small ingredient but
    very scary. So now on simple sugar loaded squash, happy child.

  32. Ninja
    28 May, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    NEVER EVER. Well it’s the aspartame that means it’s on my evil list, after discovering it is the source of my son’s epilepsy. Aspartame a small ingredient but very scary. So now on simple sugar loaded squash, happy child.

  33. 21 June, 2017 / 4:32 pm

    I let them drink fruit shoots once in a while and constantly remind them that water is better than it. Anws, thanks for this witty post. It is very informative and fun to read.

  34. 15 August, 2017 / 9:11 am

    Can I finish building my line of sandbags before holding my hand up and admitting we let our kids drink fruit shoots ? Surely there are more important things to worry about ? Like why you can buy them so much more cheaply from the pound shop ?

    • Jo Middleton
      16 August, 2017 / 1:59 pm

      There are DEFINITELY more important things to worry about :-)

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