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March 21, 2007


Can only agree with you guys, and well done for campaigning. I think it is time to maybe start influencing government policy directly on this to start reversing the fact about that it is applied to smoothies, but not to pizzas and burgers. I think raising national awareness through other channels, and involving everyone through petitions as a first step that we can work together on. What do you say? Remember guys, this is only the beginning……you have my email to respond...

I wasn't aware that fruit juice is taxed as a luxury and am horrified! Count me in on spreading the word and getting things changed. I think it would be virtually impossible to find anyone who wouldn't agree that the situation is ridiculous. Here's an idea: raise awareness via your packaging. People do read what's on there. "This product was taxed at 17.5%. Please sign up to our campaign to make healthy foods tax free at... etc. " would be a good publicity exercise. Good luck !

Wow, I had absolutely no idea that the tax on fruit juices was so high! That's terrible. I second that idea of putting it on your packaging.

And don't petitions on the Number 10 website seem to be the vogue these days? Maybe that's an option.

Sounds like it could be a fruitful campaign!

madness isnt it cant really believe that smoothies are taxed so highly and pizz and hot dogs arent ! bizzarre!! must be that mr brown is a hot dog fan not a smoothie fan maybe you should send him a sample to persuade him to reduce the VAT

gordon brown is pooo

smoothies ruuuule

p.s. plugg loves and misses innocent

I agree with the comment about a petition on the Number 10 website. Get one going and we'll all sign it!

Keep up the good work.

It makes my blood boil to know that Government does things like this. It's the same as the classification of and taxation on alcohol and cigarettes - if they were REALLY intent on making everyone healthy they would ban them both, but the revenue they provide to the Treasury is MASSIVE and, until a source can be found to fill the massive monetary hole a ban would create, this will never be done.

Doesn't explain why chocolate covered biscuits are considered a luxury and chocolate chip cookies are not and therefore enjoy a 5% tax rating.

Come on Gordon, pull your effing finger out and get a grip; your own kids will soon be of an age where they'll notice a pack of Maryland cookies is far cheaper and, most likely, a far more enticing prospect than a bottle of something, juicy, life giving and healthy. This is an attitude you currently prescribe to wanting changed!!!

It's a no brainer - or do we assume that that's a state you and the rest of the Government are currently enjoying???

Still, blimmin' lovely day innit?!?!


If you dont want to put your tax bit on all cartons (although I think that is a good idea) how about putting it on some mini packs lobbying the Labour party conference and giving out your smoothies on the day of the Chancellors and Leaders speech?

I think it is terrible that while our government claims to be getting tough on child obesity and adult health they, in fact, obstruct the channels through which progress can be made.
A higher tax on unhelthy foods and lower tax on healthy ones is a bit of a no-brainer, but then when you look at the top level government here in the UK, the phrase really starts to mean something doesn't it?.......

I vote for the tax info on all labels on both bottles and cartons because I think that that would generate the most bad publicity and embarrassment for the government.

Go for it get your petition up on the number 10 website.I am not clear is the vat on fruit or is it just fruit juice ? If so what is the difference.?

That is madness! Madneeeesssssss!
I say that you advertise via your cartons...on the bottom where EVERYONE reads things from!

I totally agree with most of these comments here. Get the info on your cartons AND start an epetition at number 10 - then let us all know and we'll bombard the beggars!!!!

As for the comments on why Gruesome Gordon doesn't tax hot dogs etc but does tax your absolutely luvverly smoothies ......... take a look at him ......... does he look health concious??? I think not.

Get Gordon out!!!

anyhoo - keep smiling and let us know when the epetition's on the go.



It is absolutely insane that delicious and HEALTHY fruit smoothies are taxed so highly whilst junk food like hot dogs isn't. I definitely agree with getting a petition started on the number 10 website. I would definitely sign it!

Like everyone else, I find it unbelievable that something as healthy as Innocent drinks are taxed. Yet again, the Government talks the talk but doesn't deliver.
Agree that putting the tax information on cartons is a great idea - bound to get lots of publicity which may put an end to the tax madness.


Jamie from innocent here. Thank you to everyone for their comments. We are going to follow your advice and get a petition up on No 10. We also have 60 MPs who have signed an early day motion on the matter (we're working on the rest). Hopefully we'll end this madness soon.

On the issue of what VAT is applied to and what it isnt... well, it's complicated. Essentially food is exempt in this country from VAT (that includes fruit). There is an exception to this, however, which is that "beverages" are taxed at the normal rate of 17.5% (unless they are dairy based, in which case they like food are zero rated). Confused? So are we. It simply doesn't make sense to tax healthy fruit juices and smoothies, especially in the light of a government's commitment to 5-a-day.

We'll let you know once we have a petition up and running.


maybe we should call them chilled fruit soups ;)

Gordy is such a stinker. He is not in the slightest bit Green, he just pretends he is so he can steal money.

Innocent, if you have any tricks up your sleeve, be sure to let me know and I'll do what I can to help.

Completely agree with your points about the VAT on fruit and junk foods. I didn't know it until you pointed it out. Should you need help in your campaigning, I would be happy to give my support.

Like most people I didn't realise that smoothies were taxed so highly & 'junk' food isn't! like you say it is madness.
As a family we like to try our best to eat healthily but as a single mum providing things like smoothies are unfortunately are a bit of a luxury (ps...we like innocent the best : ) but in a nation trying to tackle childhood obesity & the increase in type 2 diabetes in young people surely it would make more sense to make healthy food that kids (and big kids) love, accessible to everyone.
I would willingly sign any petition & the idea of e-petitions is a good one because we can all circulate it via email....

I completely agree that fruit should not be taxed as luxury!! I dont think you should tax hot dogs and pizza's higher though (not because i am such a big fan) but rather some people cant get to a supermarket/dont like them (mental I know!)/or don't know how to cook without the use of a microwave! The govternent should have healthy school meals nationwide and subsidise innocent smoothies in schools, so that kids get smoothies everyday and learn to love scoffing fruit and veg like they do pizzaz and chips!

Get that petition going I am behind you 100%...and get a supermarket to back it!

Too true this is nuts. If this is Brown's leadership style, and those advising him, then God help us all if he gets the top job.
Surely we should assist those who prevent ill health, e.g. by producing healthy food and drink, not taxing them to then use the money to repair the idiots whose diet led them to be ill..?
Its certainly a mad world. I know because I am embroiled in the same battle, and the clowns at HMCR appear to have no common sense.

I'd rather have a smoothie than a burger - you're right, taxing healthy choices is stupid

So can I check that if the tax was to be reduced Innocent would pass this saving directly onto the consumer? Obviously, that's what's supposed to happen with VAT, but often the relation between pricing policy for consumer products and tax is not made clear, and some companies enjoy the tax breaks without reducing the costs, citing reasons such as "we subsumed the tax cost ourselves previously, and now we don't have to".

At the moment, I feel that innocent is a drink for middle class people because working class people can't really afford it. Likewise, you'll rarely find a health-food shop in a working class area.

I appreciate that it will cost more to get fresh ingredients for innocent and I'm not complaining about the pricing policy, but what I'm saying is that if it's a drink for people who can afford £2 - £3 per litre, then these are the people who can afford the tax on it. Should there be a blanket tax break on foods whose majority market will always be the middle classes?

The problem is that many people of low income (or working class, depending on what term you want to use) won't be buying innocent drinks, and yet it's usually this section of society who need to improve their diets, as well as their nutritional knowledge.

Taxing healthy choices is stupid on the face of things, but if there are going to be tax breaks, they should be for healthy foods made available to the people who need them most, especially when there's evidence that those people would actually buy them.

It's a difficult call: like arts subsidies for the opera even though the people who go along are usually wealthy enough to be relatively unaffected whether the price is £10 or £40.

This is complete crap. I'm talking about 'Innocent Drinks' campaign, that is.
VAT IS levied on prepared foods, like pizzas, chips, burgers, etc, and has been for over 15 years - whether you eat in a restaurant or take away.
VAT is NOT levied on fresh produce - so, if you want a cheaper smoothie, buy some fresh fruit and make it yourself in a blender at home.
Innocent is a commercial organisation - it processes food and sells it for profit. Fine, but they shouldn't pretend they're on some kind of moral crusade.

Using the online petition system in pursuit of its commercial objective is dishonest. They should be ashamed of themselves. I hope those who have been misled by Innocent's cynicism - most of those above - get very, very angry and stop buying products sold in this manner.

You can check out the zero-rated products at the HMRC (Revenue & Customs) website.

VAT? on wonderfull tasty innocent? pah! poo to that! x

I've posted the petition on my blog, its a wonderful idea, but as Beat attitude said the savings must be passed onto the consumer.

Bye for now

I fully agree with Innocent here.
I actually think that placing a VAT on healthy smoothies will in the end cost the government more. In a country where people become increasingly overweight, healthcosts rise along with those numbers since overweight = unhealthy.
Therefore, it seems only logical to me that a government would want to stimulate a healthy way of living. This keeps the population more healthy and happy, thus not increasing health care costs. ;)

Go Go Innocent!

Just to respond to Beat Attitude's post:

We are definitely campaigning so that the cost can be directly passed on to the consumer. Our calculation of 500 million more portions of fruit consumed is based on the assumption the grocers will drop their prices across all smoothies and juices. Ultimately supermarkets decide how much the stuff in their shops is sold at, but we'd urge the government to make their reduction to 5% conditional on that saving being passed on to consumers by the retailers. And we'd be very clear with our customers that we were expecting them to pass the saving directly on to the consumer.

And to answer the points raised by Ruari:

I'm sorry to see you don't support our campaign. You are right that in catering, VAT is applied to all foods eaten on premises (chips, pizzas etc). Equally if you take away hot food, you will pay VAT.

What we are referring to here is that chips and pizzas bought in supermarkets are zero rated, and we obviously need to make this a bit clearer in the future. Pretty much all food in supermarkets, apart from healthy juices and smoothies, do not have any tax applied to them.

For people who are interested, they should look directly on the HMRC website via this link:

This is where it outlines that 'most food of a kind used for human consumption is zero - rated' (when not supplied in the course of catering). And it still seems strange to us that you don't pay tax on pretty much all food, including fruit, but you do on juices and smoothies.

We're disappointed you think we are being cynical. We made the decision at Fruit Towers not to campaign for smoothies alone, but to campaign for all juices and smoothies, as we felt that had a broader impact on consumers up and down the country.

Thanks for the reply, Allana

I look forward to the changes and corrections Jamie Mitchell and I discussed on the phone this morning being reflected in this blog promptly.

Still waiting for the corrections. I hope to see them before the end of the day but I'll check the complaints procedure with ASA just in case.

Hello Rauri. It was nice chatting to you earlier about the ins and outs of our VAT campaign. Great spot on the crisps stuff - while the vast majority of food sold in grocers is VAT free, crisps funnily enough do have VAT charged. We are trying to get the petition ammended slightly to reflect that. We haven't heard back yet, but I'll keep you posted on this. We have also clarified in our blog post that we are referring to food in supermarkets, not catering establishments (for everyone eles's clarification, VAT is still charged on food served in restaurants, or hot food take aways).

On the other matters you raised, I have reviewed again the commentary above. We are being political about this issue - it is a matter for politics - but the colour of the party is irrelevant to us and I don't feel we suggest otherwise.

As we discussed on the phone, this has been a long, 6 month campaign for us. The petition has been set up in response to some of the comments posted in this blog and is already one of the most popular petitions on the No 10 website. Hopefully, with the results of this petition and the logic of our argument, we will win our campaign to get VAT down to 5% on juices, thereby reducing the costs to consumers and increasing the consumption of fruit in the UK.



I like Sandy's comments above "maybe we should call them chilled fruit soups ;)"

Yeah, I like that! "Strawberries & Raspberries really rather smooth gazpacho"

You wanna try it - hey waddya mean the rebranding's too much? Well it's worth a try if the petition fails! I'm sure No.10 would never notice....and if they're Innocent - charge dropped!

Oh and re. the middle class price band comment above: as a mum of 3 kids who have a smoothie in their lunch box every day (plus one for me at work), it is a luxury which I can only justify as a way of ensuring they get at least one portion of fruit at school each day (the fresh fruit keeps coming home a little more bruised than it left the house, with the "didn't have time to eat it" excuse). I don't spend that amount of money on any other food in their lunch boxes, so all price reductions gratefully received thanks!

Oh and at long last (halleluiah!!) my local Tesco has FINALLY started stocking the strawberry kids smoothie 6-packs...Thumbs up from us all on that one chaps :) Are there any new kids flavours on the horizon? There are soo many big grown up ones out there - how about just sticking a few of those in the handy little tetrapaks too? My kids love 'em all, no need to pussyfoot about with the 'kids' flavours.
Before you suggest I buy the individual bottles - sorry, too pricey!...unless you started doing those in multipacks - and then at least I can recycle the bottles (can't recycle tetrapaks in Milton Keynes).

PS I've just signed the petition too. Go go Innocent :o)

Thanks for engaging in the discussion on this matter innocent people.

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