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May 01, 2007


Its really very simple.
If Innocent distribute their drinks via McDonalds, then more kids will get more fruit. How is that a bad thing?

If Innocent were teaming up with McDonalds to produce a fat and sugar loaded fruit-flavour McFlurry, I could understand people's indignation.

As it is, it's clearly a good thing for lots of kids who would otherwise be unlikely to come across smoothies.

In the past I've been cynical about the Innocent vision, on the basis that selling £2 smoothies to central London Guardian readers was never likely to positively impact upon the poorly-fed kids Innocent was claiming to care about.

This, on the other hand, potentially really could make a difference.

It's a bit like Lex Luther teaming up with Superman. On the face of it, it just seems weird.

I do however sympathise with Alex Huzzey's view that this could make a difference.

Would it have not been safer for the Innocent brand if an alternative partner had been found that could have achieved the same goal?

You were the brand that could do no wrong; a company where only a really, really stupid decision would be capable of hacking off your loyal customers. You have made that stupid decision.

Your reputation and image is going to be tarnished by your association with McD. McDonalds customers are not the type of people who will give a second thought to ethics and although your products will be available they will probably be avoided as being too healthy! If I were you I would scrap this now and try to recover the reputation you have built up. Huw.

So you say it is the right this thing to do because in doing so you are giving kids more opportunity to eat fruit – the fact they will gain this benefit, while chomping on the fatty burger, chewing the salty chips and polishing off a sugary McFlurry?

Sorry – but this does not seem to balance out.

I understand why commercially this would sound enticing for both you and McDonalds. Piggybacking on their global brand will undoubtedly increase your sales (even if you alienated a large portion of existing customers).

And you certainly have what some would say they are missing - a brand synonymous with health, goodness and purity. No doubt these days a much better hook to reel in parents or children, than a cheap toy or a slightly creepy clown.

I can even see the good intentions in your ethical train of thought. That 90% of children go without enough fruit and veg is a damning indictment of the lack of knowledge we seem to have as a society about what is a healthy diet.

But surely there are better ways than this to tackle this issue.

Just compare the ingredients labels on your respective products and you must see how worlds apart you both are, and why I feel you make such unwelcome bedfellows.

If it is the money – I would rather you just said so. We all need to make money I guess. I am just disappointed that Innocent was a company that appeared to say, “here is how to be both an ethical and a successful business” – now you seem to show by your actions that the way forward is to join forces with a company like McDonalds. If you can’t beat them…

Will I stop buying your drinks? – Well they still taste so good; almost good enough to take away the bad taste this leaves.

Then again I was also hooked on McFlurry’s, but I have managed to avoid McDonald’s for years.

I think were entering a age were more and more poeple are watching what they put into their bodies. i already know 5 people who have garden farms, your prescence has already made other companies think twice about pumping chemical colors into people.
just be aware that more and more poeple hate macdonalds everyday, where innocent gains more and more praise and customers each day.
is it wise to crash these companies together, also try not let macdonalds rub off on you.
( has horrible flashbacks of gressy selling mac donalds air vents )

It's too bad the co-founder's post didn't address the ethical implications of doing business with McDonalds - which is what so many posters were upset about. Forget the "more fruit for kids" banter...this is about doing business with a terrible corporation. BTW, McDonald's also owns quite a large stake in Pret.

I have actually read through all these comments and decided to add my own personal thought.
As an average shopper I am only mildly aware of various large corporate goings-on and the way they affect the environment etc.. I buy what I buy cause it tastes good, or its the right price, or I fancy it at the time. I like Innocent smoothies, to me they are indeed the best tasting smoothie product out there.. I also have the book. This decision wont stop me from buying the products... infact I applaud the decision... if more companies were willing to team up like this and together promote a more healthy image (as more and more are doing these days.. even McD knows that without the healthy options it will go the way of the dinosaur) it cant be a bad thing..
Keep up the good work guys!

i have gradually become a bit disillusioned with your products.

the general consensus among the people i know with a decent knowledge of nutrition seems to be:

it's likely that it isn't beneficial to consume such a large amount of fruit that you 'cram' into your smoothies at the same time, as our digestive systems are more adapted to eating fruit, let alone the high amounts of natural sugars involved.

it's misleading to use the label 'superfoods', particularly in reference to foods such as carrots; there doesn't seem to have been sufficient research on goji berries to determine their safety and health-deriving properties, and the amount you put into a smoothie hardly justifies the labelling; acai is indeed an incredible fruit but how much of its properties does it retain when in your smoothies? for a start i imagine the pasteurisation process (which you seem to mention as little as possible) destroys the omega oils which are so important and make this such a unique fruit.

I don't see there being an issue with the new distribution deal. The bigger issue is more of a commercial one in terms of how it may damage the Innocent brand and whether it can scale to match the demand from the UK's fast-food munching underclass.

I can understand why you've done it... but if feels a bit dirty and wrong.

Recently someone mentioned that they had heard Innocent were teaming up with McDonalds and I dismissed them out of hand, saying that Innocent would never dream of such a thing. Of course McD's would cut their own rancid red noses off to coax such a well respected and ethical company into their chemical ridden cabbage patch, but I just knew Innocent wouldn't do it. I am so disappointed to be so wrong. My partner and I have supported Innocent since the start and being cynical people have been half expecting some sort of sell out, but the company seemed to be getting better and better and trying harder in an appalling world where everyone is crawling over the blood soaked backs of everyone else to get ahead. Anyone who believes that McD's are becoming more ethical or more caring because they sell portions of fruit or salads, or Innocent smoothies needs to wake up and smell the starbucks coffee they are probably drinking. McD's are finally feeling the change in public opinion and suffering from the fact that more people understand what is good or bad for them and particularly their children to eat. Innocent will tarnish their own image but will make McD look much better to all the idiots who believe their cynical marketing. Wake up Innocent, I can't believe you need the money unless you have become unbelievably greedy. And to all the idiots who don't know - the one place where the ordinary person has incredible power to change even a small part of the world is through the power of their purse. Consumers forced all the changes in the marketplace, free range eggs, beauty without cruelty, vegetarian options in the supermarket. We show what we care about when we care about what we buy. Don't do it Innocent, I don't remember you asking me if it was a good idea.

Profits doubling annually, green awards on a regular basis, ethical sourcing, recycled packaging.
NO this isn't the story of McDonalds, but it is the story of the newest bed fellow to this unethical, ungreen, money losing, non-recycling monster!
I really cannot believe that you guys fell for the "have your drinks in McDs and the obese kids that have this shit stuffed down their throats are suddenly going to chose the new big fruit instead of the big mac."
Come to your senses quickly before you lose all the credibility you have so totally deserved.
By the way, if you would like to borrow my video club card to get 'super size me' out, just ask!

How gutted was I when I found out that my favourite brand had partnered up with McDonalds? After reading some of the previous comments, my thoughts echo those of G Bennett (10 May).

The thought of smoothies in McDonalds reminded me of the salads available in KFC. I can imagine the thought process... 'It's OK for my kids to eat a Happy Meal because they can get a few vitamins with the smoothie'. Even though that also means getting a large intake of sugar. Hmmm...

As my friend muttered, whilst I placed the carton of Innocent smoothie back on the supermarket shelf, 'It's all about the money'.

72% of regular Innocent smoothie drinkers said they would actively like you to be in McD’s. I'd like to know where the sample was taken from. From the comments above, there seem to be more than 9% of Innocent drinkers against the idea.

So disappointed. So very disappointed.


I know this sort of thing is a very tricky area, but not McDonalds! I can proudly say that i haven't eaten in mcd for many years, and i just don't wish to associate with a company with such an awful record.

I know it's getting you to people who might not normally choose your product - whether from the perspective of health or target market, but i just don't think you can come away from this without a damaged reputation.

I'm disappointed :(

Since I discovered McD's has a 40% share of Pret, I have stopped buying their sandwiches...they had this great ethic as well and as far as I'm concerned, they have sold themselves out, just like Ben & Jerrys and Green & Blacks...I can see both side of the fence but your customers love you for that fact you stand on your own and stick two fingers to the big guys who cut corners and contaminate food with rubbish that most of the public have no idea how bad it is for them, just like a Maccy D's....

While your intentions may be admirable, this is such a wrong move for Innocent as many people have already said. You have nothing to gain here except a few quid in the short term, but I think the amount of goodwill and value you will lose from your brand will be much larger. This is definitely a Win-Lose scenario in favour of McD's. Your company was built on a strong ethical reputation and high principles (especially with the supermarkets which is a great achievement)- this just smacks of mercenary greed. Surely there are other ways of reaching kids and promoting a healthier diet ?

All you may end up doing is giving unhealthy kids a stronger argument for their parents to take them to McD's, and while they may get a wee bit of fruit from your drink this will be outweighed by eveything else they'll eat there. It's been shown that a McD's Caesar salad is more fattening than a Big Mac for goodness' sake.

I for one will definitely think twice before purchasing your product again.

And when are you going to start using recyclable packaging ? Tetra Pak is not remotely recyclable in the UK. Would you not be better trying to work with Tetra Pak or government to make more environmentally friendly cartons ?

Really, really bad idea. I held out from reading the Marketing Week article for as long as I could, fervently hoping that this new partnership was some sort of terrible joke. Clearly it's not.

Don't you think that if McDonalds genuinely cared about kids eating more fruit they'd have been including a '5-a-day' portion in each Happy Meal for years before now? They don't care about the kids, it's just dollar signs for them and an opportunity to tap into a more ethically sound market - from which you've just departed.

I think you're all bonkers agreeing to this. I feel let down, cheated almost, and I'm going to miss drinking your smoothies.

I have been a huge fan of Innocent since I first discovered you some years ago. Your teaming up with McDonalds is the first disappointment in that history, and I feel it quite deeply. To me McDonalds is synonymous with unethical behaviour, with their reputation for cutting down rainforests to supply cheap beef, poor employment standards (and their laugable desire to get McJob removed from the dictionary - they should face up to their just desserts), using their muscle to persecute the little guy (remember the Mclibel case?), and of course poor food. I just don't believe that anyone should boost their profits, and by providing them with your name and products in their stores, this is exactly what you are doing. Yes it means that children have one healthier choice on the McDonalds menu, but people don't go to McDonalds to be healthy. McDonalds could get healthier drinks from anywhere, but they can't get your reputation - don't help them to pretend they are better than they are.

I think it's a great move. My kids would never consider a smoothie but seeing this type of drink available at MacD's will be a step toward making healthier drinks part of childrens diets. Keep up the good work.

Ignore comments about smoozing upto a corporate giant, we've all got to make a living and the end result of more people eating healthier just can't be a bad thing.

I think that sometimes the best way to change things is from the inside. Having said that, I won't be buying my smoothies from McDonald's. No one is holding a gun to our heads and making us do that. If the Innocent Smoothies at McDonald's sell, they'll be kept on the menu. If they don't they won't, no matter how much of a greenwash McDonald's may want.

I was unsure how I felt about this when I first read about it (an article in the Telegraph finance bit, left at work I hasten to add!!).
I am a big fan of good food. Ethical food. Food choice etc. But you know what? Sometimes, JUST sometimes, I find myself falling through the doors of a McDs, scolding myself as I order a cheeseburger I KNOW will make me feel sick within half hour of eating it. I have a son who is nigh on 6 and I could count on two fingers the number of times I have taken him there. I am lucky - the nearest M is 50 minutes drive from me, who knew that was even possible!

My little man HAS had a whole lot of Innocentness, 'cos I thoroughly agree with everything I have seen and read and researched about them. I choose to pay extra for these products, and NOT because I have the extra money. I don't!

I still don't feel comfortable with this association, but I do support it. The product is not changing, neither is the ethic. Yes, of course they will make more money from having a wider fanbase, if you like. If Innocent are prepared to offer their product at a reduced rate, to people who are never going to come across it normally. What the hell is wrong with that! Someone said elitism earlier, and I utterly agree. It is like that band you have been listening to for ages that no one has heard of, then all of a sudden, they are on the radio and everyone knows who they are. All of a sudden they have 'sold out' and you don't like them anymore. It is selfish to with this and it should be shared and made available to everyone. People should be given the option of buying or not buying something that is good for them, and it should not be soley based on its cost.

(Although if you WOULD like to reduce the price of your cartons in shops it would make my other half very very happy!)

find it very disappointing that you've teamed up with McDonalds!!!!!!!!!!!They are a company with a terrible reputation for exploitation, deceit and misery on a global scale. Whilst I can see the small benefit of trying to introduce a healthier element to their (Un)Happy Meals, I think it tarnishes the image of Innocent Drinks to be associated with McDonalds.

Kids will associate your drinks with mcdonalds unhealthy stuff - you wont be educating a new wave of kids to healthy food - just making some money yourselves.

I cant believe you

no more innocent for me!

I am very glad smoothies are becoming more available, especially at fast food restaurants. Once you have ridden the smoothie train you'll never leave. There are hundreds of smoothie recipes here:

oh please.. get off your high horse! in all those years pple like "us" boycotted McD and what good has it done??? None..there are masses of pple still frequenting those "restaurants on a daily basis.

I buy the smoothies because they taste lovely , they are good for me and luckily i can afford them. And latter can hardly be said for all of the population.
So, making them available to a wider range ( and let's tell the truth..the not quite so affluent pple)is a very very good thing. The comment somebody earlier made about being a bit "elitist" rung so very true.

Change the system from within and trust the choices kids can make when they are actually given a CHOICE!

As the Romans said ' judge a man by his friends'
This alliance is wrong because McDonalds have a nefarious reputation and history.
Read 'Fast Food Nation' and you'll understand McD's are a ruthless enterprise with no scruples.
McD's could quite easily get alternative fresh smoothies in their outlets if they so desired. They're attempting to leverage on the Innocent brand. That's all..

Let's not kid ourselves about Innocent wanting to get more kids to eat fruit. It's business pure and simple. I do find the whole approach of Innocent a little condescending in general. If there was a decent alternative to Innocent drinks I'd probably buy them. By teaming up with McDonald's, I've lost all respect for them. McDonald's have an horrendous reputation. Bad move.

Bloody hell is this still going on?

I'm still in a state of shock and I'm not sure any amount of your lovely smoothies are quite going to heal my wounds on this one.

You guys stand for something bigger than you could ever imagine. The dream that small bods can make it big in a good, wholesome, ethical way.

Pop. Dream trashed now.

I know it's important to reach the masses with your healthy eating message. But surely you could have thought of a more creative ways... that is, after all what you're so great at doing.

Tis a sad day, an emotion I thought I'd ever associate with Innocent.

Ok, I love innocent, I love what they are trying to do and their desire to make the world that little bit better. However, this world is not full of companies like innocent. Many more companies have ethics they'd rather we didn't know about. There are some companies we do know some about including starbucks, tesco (and other supermarkets) and of course mcdonalds. I try to shop consientiously, but that is not easy and I often find myself in tesco and gap for example. My point is that it is very hard to be an ambitiuos company in this world without dealing with unethical companies. It's not ideal, but at least innocent are aware of the ethics of mcdonalds (and presumably starbucks and supermarkets). Maybe they'll prove us wrong and actually manage to make a difference as a result of this controversial decision. I hope so. If anyone can, it's innocent.

Ahh, now I understand why you aren't keen to sponsor Stirrin'Stuff cookery demos occasionally, at shows or in schools (3 letters no response). The Golden Arch is OK for a treat and that is what Innocent should now become - if you want such a partnership. Cooking with real raw ingredients is the route to a healthier diet. I cannot not encourage grazing in McDonalds (even with Innocent) because children will eat as well as drink. If you aim to have influence with the golden arch, encourages them to ditch the fries for big fat chips (which absorb less fat) – kids don’t really like the wedges.

I think you're lying.

'You can bet we didn’t make this decision lightly. In fact, we even polled our regular drinkers a few weeks ago, and 72% said they would actively like us to be in McD’s, 17% said they didn’t care, and 9% said we shouldn’t be there. We simply wouldn’t have done it if the opposite had been true.'

I bet that you sat down and said 'Shall we post a big question on our blog, and put it in our newsletter, maybe even stick something on our bottles, asking our customers if we should get into bed with McDonalds?'

I bet you said 'no' for two reasons:

1. You didn't want to hear to the answer.

2. You don't want your customers to have that level of power over your business decisions.

I'd REALLY like to see more of that poll. When you asked it, what you asked, how many people you asked, who you asked, why you chose them...

If you won't show that information, I think there's something fishy going on.

You might have done the poll, but the more 'Innocent' thing to have done would have been to ask people what they thought BEFORE you did the deal.

I'd love to be proved wrong.

I am so dissapointed to read that you are going to be associated with Mcdonalds. Its such a shame that you have now tarnished your good name by selling out to in my opinion one of the worst companies in the world. Whatever you may say about wanting to bring healthy drinks to children that fact of the matter is that Mcdonalds and other unethical companies cause destruction, pain and suffering every day in almost every country in the world. This has been caused by their greed for world domination and unfortunately it appears that those dollar signs were just too much for you to resist. I have been a bit fan of innocent drinks since they started and usually have one a day. However like I avoid coca cola and mcdonalds I will be going elsewhere for my refreshing fruit buzz! The beauty of your company has been that you are unique,fun loving and passionate about what you do. Sadly you are in danger of becoming sucked into the corperate machine and losing your identity. Mcdonalds, Inoccent?? I don't think so.

Here's a reply to Iamnotananimal, a couple of comments up from here:

We did the survey through TNS, a company that specialises in market research, and they picked 1023 people across Great Britain as close as they could get to be representative of the entire population.

We then asked them which of 6 brands (including innocent) they'd like to see in McDonalds, and asked them if they bought our drinks so we could see what our drinkers thought too. We also asked them if they thought selling our drinks in McDonald's would change their opinion of innocent.

We could have requested feedback on our blog or on our bottles but we wanted to get the views of the non-bloggers too (people who blog and read blogs are skewed demographically, so we deliberately stayed away from this) so we decided this was the best way. No one way is perfect, but we felt this survey was the most objective way of measuring our drinkers views.

The survey was completed before we started the trial in McDonalds and helped us to make the decision.

Hope that helps.

I'm sorry, but I won't buy Innocent drinks now, as long as Innocent are partners with MacDonalds.

MacDonalds now have another devious tool to persuade customers that they are concerned about people's health - something which is utterly, utterly false. MacDonalds' food makes you ill. Washing it down with a splash of smoothie won't change this.

I think this has done huge damage to Innocent's brand. I no longer view them as quirky, nice people who love making drinks. I'm now inclined to view them as just one more business that puts growth and profit before social concern.

Innocent, my foot.

What a shame. I cannot however say that I am surprised. You are out to make money and in the end McDonalds gives you access to a much wider market. You just gave stupid parents an excuse to give their kids 'happy' meals. What a shame that we can't have a truly ethical, genuine company.

am i the only who remembers where we all get a lot of our smoothies from? if starbucks is ok with all you oh-so-ethical types, then you can button it when it comes to McD's.

Come on, unless you're in the Good Life, i highly doubt you are all living perfectly ethical lives.

Good on you, Innocent

Wow. That is one big, and gripping blog.
I have to say that on an emotional level I am completely in the 'McDonalds = Satan' camp. The point is you have given McD a HUGE (and deceptive) PR boost by association. innocent was seen (until now) as the most right-on ideologically sound companies on the planet, therefore you have given McD unwarranted green credentials. This to me is like BP putting windmills outside their petrol stations - which they have done! The point about McD is: it's still sh%t food which is bad for you, made by a company with a terrible record in using up the world's resources. Surely that should be the bottom line if you guys really are searching your consciences and not just looking at sales growth.

Recipe: Cherries:4 or 5
strawberries: 23

I did doubt Innocents' innocence for a while there but now am now thinking a) you're still an independent company b) you're still making lovely healthy drinks and c) I think deep down you are nice people (oh, and d) I loved your little grass van in Cardiff last week)so I will keep purchasing....

i really dont like innocent drinks

through reading all these one thing struck me, there has only been 2 responses from innocent themselves. One when this all started and when dan answered the question about the questionnaires before this decision was made. A response in which innocent knew they could win the arguement, yet with the hundreds of messages left after richards first response, about how people will no longer drink your product and think that you are climbing into bed with the devil there has been no response at all. I just find this a bit strange the second you knew there was an argument you could win you answer it very quickly and just leave all the other comments. i know your busy people and i dont suggest you respond to every single blog, like i said i just found this very strange. through the image you guys have created for yourselves as a caring company you dont seem to care very much about your consumers response to this decision.

Hello Sarah. We definitely haven't taken this lightly - we've avidly read every single comment, and we're really grateful that people have taken the time to tell us what they think, good or bad.

You're right - we can't respond to every single comment - we wouldn't have enough time left in the day to do the other stuff that keeps innocent running smoothly, but what this has shown us is that the people who buy our drinks are perfectly capable of having the debate without us butting in every five minutes. We told our side of the story at the beginning, leaving it to the reader to make up his/her mind.

And we're glad that people are still letting us know what they think of it all.

Happy New Year


I am Albert Noggin please dont laugh at my name i love innocent smoothies but my mother only lets me have it once every week by the way i am 5 years old and go to St Johns schhol Billericay


Go for it, no one is thinking for the kids thease days.

Dancing with the devil? or simply educating him?

"Mcdonalds have bought out Innocent smoothies!" is the first thing I heard of this latest deal, and my heart sank. This is what a lot of people will also hear but this I now understand is far from the truth.
The idea of working with a company like Mcdonalds is very unappealing as they are responsible for generations of bad health and advertising that shamelessly draws in the minds of children. We see children bribed with the promise of a 'Happy Meal' by their parents in exchange for their good behaviour.
This is obviously partly the fault of the parents for adhering to such advertising but mostly its the responsibilty of the company not to fuel such a situation. If the food was better, then I could see the benefit all round in the long term even if the company are only interested in profit, at least the result would be a slightly more positive one for the consumer. As it stands, this really isnt the case....
The burgers in Mcdonalds have such a high sugar content that in order to stay off the desserts menu, they contain a slice of guerkin and therefore qualify as a savoury product.
The burgers in Mcdonalds are 100% beef. You may think this is a good thing but sadly when they say 100% beef, they actually mean that they contain every possible part of the cow. Mmmm.
The Chips in Mcdonalds are fried in pork fat before they reach the 'restaurants' which begs the question; Do those with religious denominations know about this?
Mcdonalds are a company that should not be encouraged, supported, or even liased with. But how do you stop a company that simply cannot be stopped? Do you boycott them? Do you protest daily outside McProfit HQ? Or do you simply change them through offering healthier alternatives?
Lets face it, there are millions who will continue to eat Mcdonalds regardless of knowing the truth behind them, and Mcdonalds will continue to sell to kids until a protection law is brought in, which isnt going to happen.
The only option that seems left is change through education, and hopefully, through companies like Innocent, the future will serve a better diet for our children through fast food chains. Far from ideal, but in a world that seems run by money , it seems the only option we have left.

Sorry, Innocent, but after much deliberation I am adding my voice to the chorus of disapproval. It really pains me to say this, not least because I live on your smoothies!

I've been a huge supporter of yours and what you stand for ever since you started, and have always held you up as an example of a successful company with a spotless value chain.

The decision to distribute through McDonalds gives tacit acceptance of their terrible business practices, and while your purported aim of helping kids get a balanced diet is laudable, you could have done this just as effectively with partners who share your principles.

At best, you're being very naive- and at worst you've compromised everything that you stand for.

I don't understand why you would want to be associated in any way with this american fast food chain, it seems such an unlikely match. Is Innocent trying to be the Jamie Oliver of juices?

Maybe once the kids have tried the smoothies, they will realised how gross the happy meals are.

Hello my name is Jonny.

I like the occasional big mac and fries (late from work, skint, really hungry) My girlfriend on the other hand, loves your smoothies. It's the perfect combo, me happy with my choco milkshake, but still she's satisfied with a healthy alternative.
Welldone Innocent!

p.s. My girlfriend puts smoothie in the freezer and eats it as a desert (mental!)

BIG mistake. Are you trying to convert the millions of obese McDonalds lovers into eco-warriors? It will only damage your rep.
Why don't you just team up with the devil and start making kiddie alcho-pops?

Dan, re. your post on June 28th, if this was the only piece of research you did, then you deserve the comments you're getting here.

Quantitative surveys (like the one you described) are great for giving statistical validation, but totally hopeless for getting a meaningful understanding of why people actually buy your product. I take your comments on avoiding bias, but on a decision as emotive as this (and as fundamental to Innocent as the comments in this blog suggest), would it not have been a smart move to supplement the survey with some focus group work with your customers?

People don’t pay over £3 a carton because you’re warm & fuzzy and drive around in Astroturfed vans… and you’re not the only good smoothie maker out there. Fundamentally, you command a premium because you’re an honest company with impeccable business ethics, which is sadly the exception to the rule. Like many others on this blog, I loved Innocent and wanted to actively support you because you stood out as a role model of being able to run a successful business while having an uncompromised social conscience.

Statistics will tell whatever story you want them to, and it sounds very much as if those headline numbers rubber-stamped a decision you’d already made. If you had genuinely cared what people thought, you should have invested a bit more time into listening to them properly, up-front.

Shame on you guys.

Hello Mnemosyne

Jan, our research guru, is on holiday this week. I'll ask him for some specifics when he gets back (10th January) and will let you know what he says.

I can tell you off the top of my head that we do lots of qualitative research alongside the quantitative sort. You're right - we'd be stupid to do one or the other in isolation, as that doesn't give you a great picture of what people are thinking.

We also talked to people whose informed opinions were really important in helping us come to a decision (perhaps you could call this 'superqual'?), including the MD of Greenpeace, who said that over the last five years McDonalds have changed from being their number one enemy to their number one global partner in reducing deforestation in the Amazonian rainforest, and said that if McD's wanted to sell healthy food we should definitely engage with them. A surprising input, and one which was important for us.

It's probably a bit obvious, but it's worth saying that the blog posts surrounding this debate have been a great source of qualitative info too. Thanks for contributing.

Hey Dan, thanks for the reply. I don't doubt that you do masses of qual research, but got the impression from your post that the only customer research you'd carried out relative to the McDonalds decision was the quant study you mentioned... If this isn't the case, then please forgive me for maligning you! Given the strength of everyone’s feelings I'm very surprised that none of the themes from the blog came across when you spoke to your customers.

I find it pretty amazing that the debate is still running nine months after you started it. It just goes to show the huge emotional attachment that we all have with Innocent- and a great deal of that is about your values.

I take on board everything you've said about McDonalds, but still question the degree to which they have really changed- I’m also not a fan of the Starbucks distribution, for the same reasons. But you’ve taken a brave move to open this up for debate, not many companies would have done that.

It would be interesting to hear whether the blog feedback has changed your views- and thanks for giving us all the opportunity to contribute so candidly. But that said, I wish we’d also had that chance before the event.

It's an interesting debate but I don't think the blog above gives an accurate view of what people really think either, any more so than a survey only of hardcore innocent drinkers would.

It's human nature that when something bad happens people like to complain, more so than when something good happens they would pay a compliment. Customer service studies show that consumers are 10 times more likely to contact a company to complain about something than they are if they were happy about it.

There are some fairly melodramtic posts above (I mean seriously, it hardly compares to selling alcopops to kids, does it?) but there are also some people who don't see this as a bad thing.

Personally, I'd prefer not to see innocent in McDonalds, but to all the people who say innocent have sold out and are being naive, I think you're the ones who are being naive. Do you honestly think that innocent not being in McDs would change the World? If it means some kids get some more fruit (who let's be honest would be in McDs anyway) that's not a bad thing.

Fast food is not only dangerous but it's also an evil empire targetting the most innocent minds - our children's. Say no to fast food!

I think this is a step in the wrong direction. I will stop buying your product, especially with the Tropicana product now available I see no reason to buy anything associated with the least ethical company in the world.

You've been duped. Once this localised experiment works they'll produce their own equivalent (remember mcD cola?) and chuck you out. Even if they keep you on in the uk, they'll leverage the brand concept of Innocent drinks on their own production line for global deployment. Were you savvy enough (like Coke) to sign a global exclusivity deal on pure fruit smoothies with them? i doubt it. oh well, enjoy the cash and watch out for key production employees getting poached.

God I used to think Innocent drinkers were intelligent level headed people until I read this debate.

McDonalds are not the anti-christ, they are no worse than Gap or Nestle. If McD are genuinely trying to improve the health of their products or their ethical standing then why not.

Innocent is not a charity, its an ethical company which had clearly thought long and hard about this decision. You whinging moaners all sound like people tagging along for the ride by being ultra ethical because its fashionable. Thats just as bad as being unethical.

This is


I am VERY late on this debate...

I just think that Innocent got the return of the boomerang: the company's strength is that its consumers feel so involved that they advertise for the company themselves. The fact that they are involved in decisions like this one makes them so emotional and concerned that it arises great feelings (whether good or bad), this is why some consumers say they won't buy any smoothie anymore if Innocent "sells its soul to Mc D". I think this is not the way things have to be seen (well, now it's just my opinion...).
Innocent's other strength is that it has a great vision about environmental issues and ethics. I am not saying that the means justify the end because it is too negative a saying, but it is a bit like that. If you want to be coherent, you do what you said you will do, and well. Being in MacDonalds is not to be seen as pactising with the enemy, but as a greater step taken by the company to achieve its strategic goals.

Innocent will not be different if their smoothies are to be sold in McD. This has to be seen as
1) an opportunity to reach a greater range of consumers
2) an opportunity to achieve Innocent's mission into giving the chance of a healthy tasty and natural drink (everything McDonald is not btw) to everyone
3)and this one is the most important: an opportunity to get closer to the great vision Innocent has about the world : more Innocent smoothies sold=more benefits to the rainforest and to the Innocent Foundation.

In a nutshell, you sould not see Innocent's step to be into McD as corruptive, bad or incoherent. You have to see furhter: what will it impact on ? Does the image of Innocent get really impaired by doing this ? I do not think so, because the aim is the same all along, it is just another way to get to it.

Dealing with McD can appear as really incoherent with Innocent's image, but if you go down this road, dealing with any great corporation will be so. That means every single shop where you buy the smoothies, because behind those shops there is a great corporative business. It is sad, but we are in a world of corporative businesses that only seek for money making, and if achieving one's goals means passing by those disgusting big companies, then this is what it takes. You have to play the game with the players, you cannot play alone !

as for the knitting contest, saying that one will not knit for Innocent if they go for McD is not taking revenge to Innocent but on the poor people who would have benefitted from this knitting. This is misplaced revenge !

Just saying...

I understand that this step is not Ronald McDonald took over the manufacturing process or Innocent smoothies.

It's nice to hear that Mcdonald's will have some healthy drinks. Keep up the good work and keep trying to get kids to drink healthy juices and not crap.

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