Footprint Blog


Innocent’s Innocence

Posted in Comment,Food Trends,Foodservice Footprint news,International by foodservicefootprint on April 18, 2009

greenlogoIt was hard not to notice Innocent’s press this week having sold 20% stake of its business for £30 million. Some of the adverse press that accompanied this deal was also blatent!
I have known the chaps from Innocent for a long time for the simple reason that part of their strategy was to break into the foodservice industry; unsuccessfully I hasten to add!
The fact that the Innocent brand has been surrounded with infantile and patronising marketing is no secret and furthermore, I suspect the green credentials of the business, however much defended by the PR machine, have been dubious. But I cannot quite see how the 3 directors of Innocent should be subject to quite as much abuse as they have been.
The foodservice industry will be all too aware of the take-over of Abbeywell by Coca Cola in 2008. Abbeywell never had any particularly spectacular USP apart from being an honest water brand and being solely focused on the foodservice sector. As far as I can tell nothing has changed with the brand.
Therefore, is the press’/public’s wrath of Innocent somewhat unjustified in that apart from a global conglomerate taking control of 20% of the business, nothing may change.
One is naturally cynical of success stories such as this and although £30 million sounds a great deal of money, which indeed it is, one cannot forget the great deal of hard work that has gone into building this brand over many years.
I, myself, am not a great fan but I cannot help but think retail brands are subject to huge often unwarranted wrath by the consumer and the press. Had Innocent been more  ssuccessful in foodservice this may have added to the trouble but the fact that the brand never quite made it into this sector might suggest flaws in policy as well as pricing. And although the green credentials of Innocent Juices may be up to debate, I do feel that many of the comments I have read are undeserved.
Let’s not forget, that these boys, whether (much quoted) oxbridge, public school or not, created an awareness as to healthy un-concentrated juices where, quite frankly, there was none!
The ecological credentials are dubious, the marketing is clever, the product tastes good and they have made some money; but it does display a generation gone by!
10 years ago companies could get away with weak green marketing fads, whether a new company could get away with Innocent’s gimmicks – I suspect not. But, all in all, the reason I am writing this, is that the directors of Innocent had a foresight and I am pleased for them. Who knows, Coca Cola’s CSR and sophisticated green policies might actually help them onto the right path.
Has Innocent lost its Innocence? I suspect, actually, its just found it!

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