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April 07, 2009

Comments

Our whole family have been avid, delighted and loud mouthed (when we first found you several years ago we bought loads for our friends & successfully converted them to your products)supporters of your brand and we were all saddened & confused by the news of the investment by Coca Cola from a company that has grown by supposedly being everything that Coca Cola isn't. I had to double check that the date wasn't April 1st.

As has been said above, minus quite a few customers & removing ourselves from your mailing list

Innocent no more!

Why choose a business partner with blood on their hands?

That's me you've lost as a customer, soon to be millions more once your company's name is added to the big list of socially and environmentally unethical products to avoid. Has anyone mentioned health?

What a pity your greed won over ethics!

http://www.killercoke.org/crimes.htm

I do feel disappointed that you have chosen to allow Coca Cola to hold a minority of your shares. I think it's great that you want to spread Innocent smoothies to the rest of Eurpope. I was in Madeira last week and missed my daily smoothie fix...they don't have enough fibre in their diets! However, I think you are such a successful company that you could have managed to get in to the European market off your own backs even if it took that bit longer. I will probably still by Innocent smoothies but I think a lot of people will not and the perfect image of the brand has been tainted which is a real shame.

I’m not one to use these blog things but I do feel strongly enough to use this and tell you I think you’ve make a huge mistake. The reason for your popularity and my custom of your brand is because you were better then coke (ethically as well as taste). I despise the coke business ethic, I’ve not posted any new links there are enough already for everyone to read. You of all business models should know what is bad about coke, why else would you start up your business in direct contrast to cokes? I and all my family do not touch the coke brand nor the mcdonalds rubbish and now yours by association. Please remove me from your email distribution I now have no interest in your brand, drinks or fate – which is now doomed.

I'd like to add to my previous post that I don't have bad feeling about the people behind innocent. I'm sure you are great people, and I congratulate you on building an ethical business with all the right intentions. I'm still out, but I know you folks did a great job up to this point, and I hope you do what you can to keep it real and stay as innocent as possible. I can't join you on the journey forward, but I am given an inkling of comfort by the thought that just perhaps, some of your goodness could rub off on Coca Cola. Do your best.

Well, I just have to say how very sad I feel. Big business and their methods have brought us to the mess we are in now, and here you are, with a foothold on the same ladder. I don't see what was so wrong with being just a rather small, by global standards, wholly ethical company in the UK. I understand you say you want to get the message across to a wider audience, but why couldn't you have worked in co-operation with companies in all those other countries to help them follow your path?
Why is it necessary for you to be the ones supplying the product? I cannot rid myself of the conviction that it must be because of money. I am so afraid that the scenario mentioned earlier with regard to appletizer will come to pass for you.
I liked the earlier suggestion about shares being bought by your (hitherto) loyal customers, but it's too late now, so I'm joining the ranks of the 'exes'

I can only imagine this was not a decision taken lightly, and I'm sure the innocent founders prepared themselves for a backlash such as this.

For the record, I shall continue to buy innocent. Buying innocent makes me smile, and thats not going to stop just because you people have business sense as well as morals. The two are not mutually exclusive. Call me naive, but I have faith that you will not lose your values or your appeal, and hopefully you can teach Coke a thing or two about ethical business! Just keep doing things like you always have been, and I shall keep buying my daily bottle of innocent at lunch time! (i shall buy two today, because i am feeling sorry for you!)

That's fine. Innocent's still innocent, i don't see the problem. I still love you longtime ;)
x

I am torn as to my response.

First the brand Coke is abhorrent to me as well as to many others (as I can see above). I also understand business, and your own business -- my mother ran her own very successful business for twenty years that went under recently, and although this was not my decision in any way I understand that such a thing surpasses questions of livelihood.

I recently moved to Germany, and have been very disappointed in the lack of innocent smoothies here. Although there are many fresh healthy alternatives from vendors I have no idea what their ethical stances are and can only really buy single servings at a time. If this deal helps you weather the storm and I can see innocent on the shelf at my local Penny or Aldi, then I would still buy.

I'd check the label every time I purchased because now I am worried that, controlling stake or not, Coke does now have an influence over you and being the nasty American corporation they are (I'm American, I should know) they will be most concerned with the bottom dollar/pound/euro/currency-of-your-choice, and I wouldn't be too surprised if they got you to slip something cheaper in, or preservatives. Because the problem now is that if they want you to change something, what can you do? If you say yes then it's goodbye to all those loyal customers who have trusted you, but you'll probably keep the mass market; if you say no, they pull out and leave you stranded. I expect at some point to see a change in your ingredients, your manufacturing, or your price.

That said, I'm sure (like others) that you did not make this decision likely, and if you need the money you need the money. I also don't know that any other investor(s) would have given you a better deal or honestly been any more ethical. I expect the major investors ARE major investors because they are shrewd global corporations, and I think all those above who slate you for your decision don't seem to realise that awesome organisations with groovy business plans who churn profits back to charity (like innocent) don't have that kind of money.

I applaud your difficult decision, and would still buy your products until the ingredients changed and/or prices went up.

My concern is that even though innocent will still be run by the same people in the same way, the profits will go to Coke. I can see why the step was taken, but wish that you had picked a more socially responsible partner. I guess the positive is that you are being open about it, so people can make an informed choice about whether to continue to buy or not.

I was outraged when L'Oreal bought The Body Shop, mainly because Body Shop Customers weren't made aware that profit now goes to a company that does test on animals. So, thank you for being honest about this at least.

What utter sell-outs.

I have had faith that your company was different. But sadly I was completely wrong.

I will not buy your products anymore, and I will make sure that all my friends, family and colleagues boycott you too. You've really let us down but allowing such a hideous company to own a percentage of yours.

So long Innocent. And remove me from the mailing list too.

You sold out. I am unbelieveably disappointed. I loved your drinks, I loved your marketing, I loved your ethos. But no more. I hate Coca Cola and all it stands for and will be shifting my loyalty somewhere more ethical and sound.

Another customer bites the dust.

Coca-Cola would not invest without a hope of making money however farsighted.

It may be like buying land in the hope that one day planning permission will be plausible.

I'm sure all this has already been said, but I'm just showing support for those of us who are as yet unconvinced. I have enjoyed seeing the success of such an independent company. It is a seemingly premium product that people have accepted as good value. But its priorities form part of that value.

Whilst I understand the continuing good work of innocent, its name has been tarnished for the first time. As such it will not be quite the dead cert it often was in the shopping basket.

innocent: I adore you. I like the trappings - I knit little hats, I read the emails, my kid's been in your focus groups and we were going to your summer fair when it was still free and small - but most of all I drink your drinks, and buy the kids ones to unfold and freeze to make really fabulous ice pops for my kid. Also: big props, really big props, for the recycled bottle. But Coca-cola, who are complicit in the abuse of workers and murder of trade union activists in Columbia, are to be your partners? What a disappointment! It doesn't matter if Coke (for the moment) let you run your business as you always have, as we all know that they will now share in the profits of every little bottle we buy, and I just don't want that. I don't buy Coke, and I really don't want to buy anything else that makes Coke a profit, however big or small. Everyone makes mistakes, and I think you've made a big one here. Maybe not for your business - plenty of people drink Coke, more than will ever complain here, and I have no doubt you will profit from this - but for your own peace of mind. Weren't you making enough money already? If there's any way to reverse it, I think it's something you need to do.

Hello Innocent, Just to wonder did you take down my post about Coca Cola's marketing techniques? To recap, they give away big shiny fridges to shopkeepers all over the world. Highly tempting cos these beasts cost loads. Then they rigorously enforce a policy of not allowing the shops to put anything into said shiny fridges except Coca Cola- controlled products. This means that small drinks companies with smaller budgets (remember those days Innocent?) get sidelined. So Innocent yes you made a smart marketing move to muscle your way into overseas markets. But what is the cost? Perhaps it makes it harder for small companies to start up themselves and compete. If Innocent is an adjunct of the Coke Empire, then they too can be alongside Coca Colas in those shiny fridges. You think you can preach ethics to Coca Cola? Look at what happens to those who have stood in the path of CC's pursuit of profits.

Hello Charis

We haven’t taken any comments down. Not yours, not anyone’s. You may find that it’s on a subsequent page, as each page only takes a certain amount of comments. Click the little double arrow ‘>>’ at the bottom of each page to advance to the next one. Thanks. (We've emailed a copy of this to you too)

dan

*sigh*

After speaking on the phone to one of your reps a year or so ago when you started to sell drinks at McDonald's, and having a good 10 minute discussion about morals and corporate ethics, I was quite happy to realise that McD's were just another customer, so you selling your drinks to them wasn't really any different to you selling your drinks to anyone else.

However, this COMPLETELY changes the scenario. How dare you have the audacity to continue using the name "innocent"?!?!

You say that your ethics won't be compromised by this investment, well I'm sorry, but they HAVE. By associating yourselves financially with them, you are saying that you're supporting what they stand for.

I'm not claiming to be a 100% ethical person. I'm not claiming that you should eschew all profits and donate everything to worthy causes. I understand how business works, but I think it's offensive for you to claim to be an independent and ethical company when you have money pouring into your bank accounts from a company that couldn't give even half a damn about anything other than itself.

I used to genuinely believe that innocent were a special company - a unique company that wouldn't compromise on anything, but sadly it's apparent that you're just A. N. Other company that will do whatever it takes to succeed.

Ironically, I have no problems with the concept of companies that set out to earn a profit for themselves, as long as they have the guts to admit it.

However, for a company that has become popular BECAUSE they of what they claim to stand for, that sounds like backpedalling because they've had a dirty suitcase of cash waved tantalisingly under their noses.

The faux-jolliness and friendly nature doesn't stick any more. The mask has slipped to reveal exactly what you are.

No point in buying innocent smoothies any more if they're willing to do things like this at the drop of a hat. May as well just buy Sainsbury's own brand smoothies and save a bit of money. I know they're not a shining example of ethical shopping, but they've never claimed to be. Hypocrisy is much, MUCH worse.

How many other ways are you going to find to scoot around your 'promises'?

Anyway, good luck. I'm sure you couldn't give a flying stuff about us people not buying your products any more, or leaving the list, because you'll gain a load more international fans who'll unquestionably believe your twee schtick.

Innocent stood for something special, against everything that the big companies like coke represent. All that has been destroyed in one simple move, innocent has lost its innocence and me as a customer.

I am slightly dissapointed. It is so confusing - i hate coke and love innocent!

However, people should see that this could actually promoting healthy eating/drinking and ecological products around the world with the push of such a global company as coke. Which is the aim.

But you have sold your quaint and quirky character and i will buy the products less frequently. I may have been weak enough to do the same thing in your posistion though.

I'd like to congratulate everyone at innocent for taking the bull by the horns and making one of the most difficult decisions you must ever have made.

As someone working for a business struggling to keep its head above water in 2009, I ask myself the question would I rather see you with Coke and around this time next year or gone from the shelves completely?

I respect those that would have chosen the second option. But personally, I hold onto the idea that it's better for you to exist in one form or another.

And if anyone doubts the legitimacy of my two options, tell me this - how would you have taken on Tropicana and won? They already take up half the chilled cabinet in any supermarket and with their cash to flash it's only going to get worse.

Oh dear - how disappointing will now boycott you as I do anything to do with Coca-cola. have you read http://www.killercoke.org/

Too late though for you

I did worry when I heard that Innocent had "Sold out" to Coke. But after reading the letter and comments on the site I have to agree with some others on here that I will continue to buy Innocent.
The company makes, sells and promotes healthy, tasty and decent priced products. The end.
How many of you research the financial and business backgrounds of every company you purchase from?
They are running a business at the end of the day and surely it was always a natural move to want to expand, given their success.
Who knows, we may start to see wooly hats on coke cans by Christmas!

You ask how we feel - Bereaved is my answer.
I am grieving for the loss of a good friend turned traitor

I can not imagine a brand more diametrically opposed to what Innocent claims to stand for than Coke.

You guys were such paragons of social marketing and now you've absolutely blown it. You've created a 'tribe', appealed to people's emotions, and now you've broken their hearts.

The own brand supermarket smoothies are looking more and more appealing.

It's time to stand up against the Innocent bashers and stand up for taste!

To the tree huggers who think they have been making a difference to the world by choosing Innocent Smoothie over other brands - you are wrong! If you really want to make a difference, give your money to charity, volunteer at your local homeless shelter, help old people across the road and smile more often!

Once you've done that you can choose all your food including your smoothies based on what you like and can afford, rather than choosing it based on your ethical or political views. On taste alone, Innocent wins hands down. We've all (apart from the tree-huggers) been tempted by bogofs and 2 for £4 etc deals on non-Innocent smoothies. The bottom line is that these don’t taste as good!

I’ll be continuing to robotically pick up my cartons of Innocent as I walk past the juice section in the supermarket and continuing to enjoy the great taste. When it comes to smoothies, you Can't Beat the Real Thing, so Open Happiness, Enjoy and remember, Life tastes Good (with Innocent)…

I have always supported Innocent and didn't mind paying the extra for what I considered to be an ethical brand. Now I'm afraid I won't be buying your yummy smoothies as while I understand your reasons for selling a minority share to coca-cola, I cannot personally bring myself to add to the profits of a company which are responsible for many well documented breaches of human rights.

Well, lets face it, its not a surprise that they have sold out is it?

Having worked for innocent in the past I can say that innocent is run, first and foremost, as a business. The main aim is to make money, pure and simple. The ethical sourcing, cute branding, and 'wacky' way of communicating is all for show, it creats a brand identity that will encourage people to buy the product. People buying the product = more money, simples. Echoing another comment, staff are treated badly, and paid worse, turnover is massive and morale is low. But it doesnt stop the company making money from consumers does it?

This business-orientation is why innocent worked with McDonalds (where it was semi-noble in intent, but mostly for the money), but by selling a large chunk of the company to coke the founders have shown that they care more about the money than where it comes from.

The hope clearly is that in a month everyone will have forgotten that they have done this. They wont be putting Coke's name on their packaging, so most people wont know that they have sold out, and the business will carry on making money...

If you think that innocent 'cared', they dont. If you think that innocent is 'cool and funky', they arent. If you think they had any moral dilemma about selling out to coke, they didnt. They just worried that it might affect their sales... but not for long.

Like the vast majority of people posting I am very disappointed indeed at your decision, which has completely compromised your ethical approach and taken you back to your fund-management days. Sadly your acceptance of an investment from one of the least ethical companies in the world means you can no longer claim to have any ethics yourselves, and the only way from here is downhill, fast. And, like most people above, I will no longer buy your products and no longer subscribe to your newsletter.

You say your Dead exited about Coca Cola owning 20 % of innocent....
Interesting use of words.....i have to say i will never feel the same or as good again about your product.
Can you do something to turn this around?

Oh dear. Yet another lemming falls to the lure of the Capitalist dream - let's not sugar coat it up in terms of 'we want the world to benefit from our wonderful drinks' - you simply want your baby (the business) to grow and grow, understandable especially if you run your own small business (as I do), however you have to draw a line of business growth vs morals and ethics, and you have now crossed that line.
Such a shame, another (tiny) group of customer lost in myself and my extended family. Coke won't be happy with the exodus and might remove your toys? One can only hope, greedy children should get what they deserve.

Its like when loreal bought bodyshop - all the good things of the company disappeared and although the products wont change, at the end of the day the profits now go to promoting huge companys who dont care about anything but profit. I didnt mind that the smoothies were more expensive, as the ethics were something i could believe in. now i dont think i'll bother. thanks a lot. i guess the directors at Innocent were only interested in the cash after all.

I'm sure it's already been said, but Coke money is dirty money, end of conversation. No excuses, never going near your product again

Hi
I am/was a huge fan of innocent. Like so many people I was really inspired not just by the drinks but by the ethics. Reading this news today I feel totally let down. No more innocent drinks for me.

I understand that businesses need to expand, but the inspiring story of the founders ditching their day jobs to follow a dream to create an ethical, independent and successful company really has lost its shine. It's a sad state of affairs that one of the few major brands I can think of that truly kept their 'small business' ethos despite huge growth has to go down this route.

I'm not as ruthless as others posting here (in fact I'm drinking a can of Dr Pepper at the moment - boo hiss!), and won't rule out buying any more of your products, but my interest level in signing up to your mailing lists, reading your website and buying into your brand has dropped hugely.

There's plenty of other smoothie companies out there but the reason, I feel, that Innocent got so much market share was the development of an 'Innocent Family' whereby the addtional money you paid as a consumer was reflected fairly in the charity work and environmental improvements Innocent made.

Innocent just isn't as unique anymore - if nothing else, I expected wiser judgement in gaining extra investment. As others have mentioned, it's one thing needing to expand, but it's quite another to actively damage your USP but still expect people to buy your products.

Rats, it's not April the first.

Please consider me another of the truely disappointed with your choice of business partner. I don't know if I will ever buy an innocent smoothie again, but you're not top of my list anymore. I think I'd rather pay more for a competitor than have *anything* to do with Coke.

Certainly won't be taking part in any of your projects, even the knitted hats. I'll donate my own money to the charity of my choosing.

I have also unsubscribed from your emails. Good luck with what you've done.

Just get Mcdonalds and Coke to have a stand at your fete.. why not let them have a share in your innovative ideas and ethical thinking to improve their status by doing nothing to change their own ways. V. disappointed. If you do manage to change Coke's ethics and make them into a good company then seriously hats off. But really let's be honest...

Ok, right, so it looks like you've lost many old customers, but that doesn't, in itself, matter all that much.

A suggestion then: why don't you bring your ethical profile a bit higher by starting to produce also organic smoothies? They will cost more, but they will be better for the enviroment and some of the old people will get back on board surely (noone does fresh organic smoothies of the type innocent, does, i.e. without concentrate)...

Think about it. And, well, yes, it was very disappointing news but it's this capitalist word we live in and I would not have expected anything else.

I have been a loyal customer for years but I'm afraid I will be joining the ranks of those no longer buying Innocent. I boycott Coca-Cola products because of their human rights record in South America (which was brought to my attention by this programme www.channel4.com/news/articles/dispatches/mark+thomas+on+cocacola/1068847)

I have to agree with the majority of posts above. I feel a bit stupid for identifying so strongly with the brand as I suddenly feel the difference now that Coca-Cola is a significant shareholder. We're all aware that Innocent is a business but I think they had an unprecedented amount of customer loyalty among people with ethical standards and among people who just like to feel they are eating as healthily as they can - the marketing made us all feel like we were in a special little club with the people who work at Innocent. Clearly we're not, as no one asked us to throw empty bottles into a bin marked "No to Coca-Cola".

It's a sad day when one of the companies I looked up to and valued becomes associated with Coke. You may be able to run the business your way but I refuse to give money to Coke on the grounds of their human rights and environmental history - you have now partnered with a company that dessimates water supplies, allows killings of its workers and many, mnay other corporate crimes.

I though innocent, if they had to partner, would have chosen someone who would have the same ethics and drive as yourselves - now you have just become a PR tool for them, you have given them the justification to carry on with all their bad practices because they can hold you up as a flagship for all their supposed green works.

Sometimes it may be better to go with second best rather than compromise your integrity.

I'm sorry that I have to discontinue buying your products as I really loved your drinks, your ethics, the whole of innocent. It's a sad day for me.

I wish you all the best for the future.

Having seen the Mark Thomas programme where it was proved without a shadow of doubt that Coca Cola covered up the murders of union members in Columbia, and shown the foul toxic waste that they find it acceptable pollute those areas with, I find it impossible to believe that Innocent thought it appropriate to take even a penny of their money on board.

Basically, I suppose I was a little naive and thought that Innocent were a caring, ethical company. However, once that demon word "GREED" comes into play, and let's face it, that's what this move into Europe comes down to, however you dress it up, then principles seem to go out of the window.

I'm very disappointed by this news, and Innocent will NOT be finding it's way into MY shopping basket any more.

I'll be remembering the good stuff you did, but you've become just another tainted company.

Adios

First thing I said when I saw it was 'why couldn't they look at the Co-op or asked customers to invest...'

So sadly - I'm also an ex customer - it was great while it lasted but the 'business reason's' excuse (some of us actually know stuff about business as well) patronises beyond belief.

You've sold out. And all your 'justifications' tell me that deep down you know that as well.

There are a number of things I could try to say but I might end up sounding like the audience members who shouted out on the Bob Dylan tour and I would rather not do that, instead I shall just unsubscribe. I can also look forward to saving money in future by not making the effort to buy innocent in favour of lesser brands.

Gosh, people. Does it really matter? As long as Innocent continue to make amazing drinks and support all the charities they do, surely that's what counts? They are a business. They are not here for fun. They are fun people, but they are in BUSINESS. Now stop throwing your toys out of your prams and go out a grab a smoothie. You know you want to!

Well done to Innocent is all I say. You're positively ripping. Whoop whoop!! x

A few weeks ago i was reading the side of the inocent smothie carton. It told me that it would cost more to make my own smothie than to buy an Innocent smothie. But i don't mind paying more to be ethical.

I guess there is no such thing as a large AND Ethical company.

Although I do not like the thought that part of my money from the sale of a smoothie is going to Coca-Cola, I do want to be optimistic and think that Innocent have done the right thing. I think that a lot of customers will be lost which is a shame but maybe they could be won back once something positive and tangible comes out of this. I wish you the best of luck Innocent - I think you will need it...

This was my reply to the personalised e-mail we all get for posting, thought I should show how Innocent do still care maybe we should trust their decisions until they mess up.


Hi Dan,

Thank you for your reply. I won't stop buying innocent products, I still think Innocent are one of the best companies around and I support nearly everything you do. I was just a bit disappointed about the news. I don't make all the most ethical choices I could do either so I suppose I'm a bit hypocritical, innocent just made me happy that they were so committed to the cause. I suppose coke are the lesser of two evils in terms of progressing the good work you have done. Thank you for replying it does show that Innocent are the same Innocent and value their customers opinions. I hope you have success in the new venture and I really do hope you change some of coke's ethics and you don't lose some of yours along the way.

all the best,

Polly

I don't know if I'm more surprised or more disappointed by the news that you're now bedfellows with a multi-national that is the ethical antithesis of what (I previously believed) Innocent represented.

I've read the statement from Adam, Jon and Richard and I simply cannot believe that the Coca Cola Company was the best partner to push forward a sustainable expansion of the business.

Yes, Coca Cola are trying to get a foot on the ladder of the rapidly-growing fruit juice market (e.g. with the acquisition of Huiyan last year) but there's another agenda for them surely?

The Coca Cola Company is poorly perceived by the public in regard to its commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (I realise I'm flirting recklessly with understatement here...) By acquiring a stake in Innocent, perhaps they hope to improve this perception?

What do you guys hope to gain? Put aside the thought of all that cash and the rhetoric about now being able to bring healthy stuff to more people. You could have done that with a more ethical partner, couldn’t you?

The sad truth is that the goodwill and reputation of Innocent has, at a stroke, been irretrievably lost. What set you apart was your independent, principled, ethical business model, allied to original, humorous and appealing branding.

Despite your claims that it's business as usual for you with no interference from Coca Cola, that little haloed smiley face has lost all its innocent appeal.

It feels as if you've treated your customers and supporters with contempt. At best, you've completely underestimated the erosion that the Innocent brand will suffer because of this partnership.

I wish you well, but I won't be buying your products any more. Shame - they were very good (but then so are Tropicana’s and I don’t get the bitter aftertaste of hypocrisy).

Yet another disappointed now ex-customer...

I think the points have been pretty well covered in previous comments. Coke are evil and I won't buy products that have anything to do with them. Its a real shame as I like your smoothies and orange juice and get through a few a week but I'm not going to change my principles to purchase a drink I like the taste of. I do hope you can convince Coca-Cola to change their ways I am however doubtful you'll manage it as they don't appear to have listen to anyone else on the matter :(

Oh Innocent. I can see the "business sense" and even the arguments for getting fruit out there. But Coca Cola? For me it's a wait and see but I won't be going out of my way to buy your products at the moment, I'll get some more fruit and dig out my blender. I feel a bit of a fool and like many other people confused and strangely gutted by this news.

I'm in two minds about this. Yes, it's good that you will have more money to expand into Europe. However, giving a stakehold to a giant such as Coca-Cola will inevitably have its drawbacks and sacrifices. Investments could have been done by more ethical companies, so I'm rather disappointed that Innocent haven't stood on their own two feet. Nevertheless, as long as things really don't change, I shall back you up. Join Unilever and you've lost my faith.

Very disappointed, will not be buying innocent smoothies again.

What a shame! I'm not a Coke hater myself, but the Innocent brand is definitely at odds with what Coke is all about. And to suggest you might be able to teach them anything is quite funny, like a flea trying to teach a steam roller! I hope you get the world domination Coke is offering, but at what price?

If this allows the business to become more effective and efficient without lessening the quality of the end product, and those efficiency savings can be passed on to the consumer, it is good news for me as a consumer.

I suspect it may be the case that there exists a relatively silent majority who purchase innocent products for their taste and possibly for their health benefits, not for a numinous 'warm feeling' at the check-out.

Guys,

I'm still out on this one, giving you guys the benefit of doubt just because I have been such a big fan of Innocent for so many years.

I, too, was majorly disappointed when I heard about the decision. I am on my third year of boycotting Coke and kinda hoped it was a late April Fool's joke.

It's obvoius that you need to address the Coke ethical issues, and quickly. And I don't mean the issue of feeding kids sugar. I could care less about that. I do mean murder and water shortages in India. I was actually very surprised you didn't address them in this post, given who your targeted customer base is.

Jury's out, but only for so long.

Fair play to you guys. The public image of Coca-Cola can be very different to the one you work with on a business level.
Perhaps some of the more negative posts reflect an image that has been portrayed on various websites.
Don't get me wrong, every company has it's failings but when I worked with Coke, through the wholesalers I worked for, they were the guys I could rely on for a sizeable donation or sponsorship for anything raising money towards good causes.

P.S.
Good luck guys, I really hope it works out for you x

There is a significant difference between doing a good deed in order to capitalise on its marketing value and doing a good deed because you believe that to be the right thing to do.

Coke may well occasionally do the former, particularly in relatively well regulated countries, where the publicity value suits its profit margins.

However there are also numerous allegations of Coke acting unethically, particularly in less regulated countries, to suit its profit margins.

This news came to me ironically after I had jut closed the window on which I was watching Mark Thomas' Dispatch programme regarding Coke Cola.
Recently I have been finding myself spending night upon night educating myself with the state of the world trying to reconcile what action I should take, it seems to me that we are going to be forced into self sufficiency and micro economy.
I have much praised your smoothies as I agree that it costs less to now buy your smoothies then the fruit itself and have been a stark campaigner of your goods.

Alas I wish not to give a penny to the coke foundation ergo I will be unable to buy your drinks, good luck with maintaining a 'hands of approach' with one of the most powerful monetary forces when water supplies become increasingly short. It is a sad day there seems to be very few places to look now to get true 'innocent drinks' so I encourage all that are able to dig up their gardens fill them with fruits and just start making or own smoothies,straight from our garden into our blender into the cup.... The NEW INNOCENT SMOOTHIE

I have been a customer since the beginning and I wear my Taste Bud badge with pride. I will continue to do so, but I will now be watching very VERY closely.

I buy the argument that any investment in healthy drinks from coke is a good sign that they may be shifting their focus and I'm crossing my fingers that is the case.

I second the suggestion from Dan that innocent could have sold special cartons to us for £10 - £15 that came with shares, I would have fallen over myself to buy such a thing.

Maybe next time guys?


I am totally against Coke and avoid buying their products. I am very disappointed about this news because it does feel like taking money from the devil. However, I was also concerned when Cadburys bought Green & Blacks and so far the product and the ethics don't seem to have been tarnished so I have hopes for innocent. As far as Coca Cola go, it's like Nestle bringing out their Fair Trade coffee - a chocolate covered turd is still a turd. You will no longer be my automatic, unthinking choose for smoothies.

People get over yourselves....its just some backing, seriously those of you who are now not bothering to buy the smoothies are just well.....silly!

I feel for you innocent, there's a lot of hate towards what you've done but I think it's just fine....

So disappointed to hear the news. My family boycott the Coca cola company because of the way it runs it business in developing countries i.e diverting water to the bottle plants and giving toxic fertiliser to farmers to name but two, as well as the strange shooting of union reps in Columbia. I am afraid that another family has just stopped buying your products.

quote above.......never mind to me who owns you as long as your products still taste so good......

welcome to the new world guys, welcome to your new customers. Welcome to the world of I don't care what happens to those weird people with funny coloured skin in far off places so long as my breakfast tastes good...... its a bright new horizon of global branding, paying off local war lords, squeezing startups out of business, dominating market niches, cutting corners to meet demand.......just one compromise at a time. Enjoy the rest of your rich lives and try not to think about those naive and optimistic days when you started with a dream.

Your kids will love the playboy lifestyle they are going to inherit, they will thank the lord their Daddies didn't give a damn.

Having breifly read the email (Quite late i must add) i feel that the investment from Coca Cola is a good idea as it will help you (Innocents) for fill your main aims and objectives. One concern is the power this new share holder has on the business but again my mind has been rest ashured that there are agreements that will limate to power of Coca Cola.

Overall good decision making skills and wel done....

Yours Milan Novakovic :)

Proud Drinker...

Well, guys I am at a quandary.
I really, really, really do like your smoothies.
I really, really, really do not like Coke and big (american) predatory corporations such as Coke.
I'm not going to jump up and say I'm not going to buy your smoothies again, neither am I going to say that I understand what you have done and I will not stop. I need to think about it.
In the spirit of your cartons' labels, shame on you and if I knew your mums, I would tell on you...

I get it now.....what an idiot I've been getting excercised over this the past few days. .innocent were always coca-cola in disguise. (an ex-coke exec on the board...I get it now doh!) What idiots we have all been - last ever post or purchase from me.

Goes against your own ethical standards. Now every smoothie sold will be lining the pockets of the execs at Coke.

There's a reason I don't drink Coke. I really can't see me buying any more Innocent products after this.

Surely a bank would have provided a better, more neutral source of funds?

Like many people above, I choose not to buy products from Coca-Cola. So from now on I won't be buying your smoothies. I'll be sorry to lose them, but that's the price one pays for having principles. And sticking to them.

How can you 'loyal customers' be so cruel? They need money to get this amazing load of smoothies to other places and just because it meand Coke gets some of the profits doesn't mean Innocent is 'tainted'(I'm looking at YOU, L Mitchell) These people have a right to get a little financial help. Plus with this money inoccent will move to places where Coke is the tastiest thing around, and Innocent will come and change that, giving a more ethical tasty drink to many people.

I just read Darren's comment-

You did NOT insult the village fete! It is still an amazing thing and I somehow doupt the village fete would have Coke signs everywhere. Dont expect the name to change to Innocokecent, it's just a small change. I think some people just can't handle change

I feel much as I did when the Body Shop (who based their image on an ethical company which didn't test on animals) sold out to L'Oreal (whom I boycott because they do test on animals). Likewise when Green and Blacks got bought out by Cadbury's and suddenly milk crept into their flagship vegan chocolate such as Maya Gold. Ditch the halo, "innocent". You have taken your first step onto a slippery slope and your willingness to do so has cost you your reputation, which was the biggest thing that gave you an edge over your rivals.
Today, I bought my first smoothie at Waitrose. It was cheaper than innocent and very tasty. Waitrose are a co-operative who treat their employees well and give generously to local charities. Guess where my custom will be going from now on.

what some people don't get is that coke may be evil, and so dragged innocent down the ethical ladder, it means that innocent can get more for the charities they currently support. also it's still one of the most ethical drinks companies on the market

coke may be evil...... [but] ....... it means that innocent can get more for the charities

That doesn't make any moral sense. No I suggest we all forget it, we were just STUPID dupes. I feel really stupid now that I realise I allowed myself to be infantalised by their stupid childish fetes and stupid videos and childish packaging.

I can't believe how my perception of this company and its product has turned 180 deg so quickly.

I meant to add: How long before this talkback board gets closed down because - people were using it irresponsibly - then how else are we going to tell your Mummies (God how did we ever think that was charming?) that we despise the coke decision.

seems like a small price for your principles to be bought for, your insistence that you will be able to keep your company the same seems like you're trying awfully hard to convince yourselves that that's true. all the blogs and anger just show how disappointed eveyone is

Are you rebranding as Corrupted ?

No more innocent smoothies for me. Coke own tons of companies and don't do it ethically at ALL. Really thought we were going to have a great successful business from our own shores here. Such a pity. I really liked the new veg pots as well. Shame.

I'm sorry, but I boycott Coca Cola Company, too.

Now I really have to think about buying Innocent next time...

I've bought a lot of innocent smoothies in my time, but no more.
I'm not a hippy who won't shop at supermarkets, but I didn't mind spending extra money for an innocent because of your image. That's gone now. This is the start of a slipperly slope. If you needed extra funding now, then surely as you grow, you'll need more and more..
There must surely have been other ways to get funding than let the Coke buy into you.
But obviously you care more about money and profit now than your principles, and so I'm out.

Please Join Facebook group called:

Innocent Smoothies - give back Coca-Cola's dirty money

A small note to correct some inaccuracy - none of our founders ever worked at Coke. Adam worked at Virgin Cola for a short while many years ago, but not Coke.

Also, to answer Steve's point (6.19pm), we won't be closing down this thread. The point of us having a blog is that it's open to comment from anyone with a point of view, as you can see from all of the above comments.

Hi Dan,
I appreciate your keeping the blog open and allowing for critique of the Coke-up.

Is there any way of adding page links at the base of each page? (or at least somewhere prominent on page one). Currently it is very tricky to navigate and I suspect many never get beyond page one.

I'm sure others would like to navigate the comments and see your clarifications.

Thanks / Paul

Very sad about this. I appreciate what you stand to gain by having coke's support but I am not willing to give money to coke by buying innocent smoothies, I will be making my own from now on.

Hello Paul (12.19am)

I'll talk to our web man (Ted) about seeing if we can make the navigation any better. I think we may be slightly at the mercy of the Typepad blog software that we use, but there may be an option. I did add a postscript at the bottom of the body of the original post itself expaining how the navigation should work, so hopefully people are seeing that.

Dan

Wow you guys suck. Total sell out. Innocent is now part of the Coke Boycott - nice marketing decision, you just became worthless.

You deserve congratulations on how good your marketing has been over the past 10 years! You've managed to convince so many people that you were more than just another business, and helped them forget that like all businesses you had a bottom line to worry about!

Anyway, in the same way that Pret (a company which seems to have a similar ethos (and marketing approach) to you) managed to survive being part of Macca D's, I'm sure you'll be pretty much the same too.

All the people talking about finding another small smoothie maker to support reminds me of the South Park episode which is a satire of people who complain about WalMart, with the wonderful twist at the end as the local shop they use instead slowly expands across the world instead. We live in a capitalist society, and what you have done reflects that. You've managed to do it without putting profit above all else (although I'm sure it's near the top), and I hope you maintain that ethos.

So well done, and keep up the good work.

PS Please don't move from Goldhawk Road to Hammersmith Broadway. I like the idea that people can pop into Fruit Towers, and the Coke building's a bit of a fortress...

The problem here is that you grew the business with a model that was ethical, people centered, and sustainable. Then instead of trying some new ways of raising money, you decided to jump to the large corporate investment model with a company with has a tremendous amount of bad karma attached to it. Of course you could have done worse (Dow Chemical?) but you could have done so much better. At the end of the day you have shown a tremendous lack of creativity, something I had always admired about your company.

I will continuse to buy Innocent smoothies - they're brilliant! I honestly can't see what all the fuss is about with Coke. I see it as Innocent making a pragmatic, sensible decision to allow them to continue to sell their smoothies to a wider audience and not get wiped out by less ethical competition. If Coke want to invest in buying shares of Innocent smoothies - then that's great too. :-) I'm sure there are a lot worse uses that Coke's money could be put to.

Hello innocent,

Is everything final, contracts and stuff?

I don't have much money, but I'd give all I could if meant you had a choice.

If you were able to go back now, I think everyone would feel such a rush of love for you that every smoothie on the shelves would be gone within a few hours.

Lots of love,
Sarah x

I can't believe you guys have sold out in such a way, and to one of the worst companies imaginable! You could have only taken cash for Nestle or the Mafia to have taken a worse stance! I've loved your smoothies, your juices and your ethics, and, recently, the veg pots, but I, as with the majority of commentators here, will no longer feel able to buy your products as to do so would, in the long run, mean I was supporting killer coke!
You are no longer the company we loved, and are no longer able to claim to be Innocent! I shall miss you greatly, but cannot justify your new 'non-ethics'!
Bye from another sad ex-customer!

Innocent? Not any more.

What a sad, sad day - I wish you luck and hope your dreams are sweet....

Bye bye my friends

Hi Paul.

We've had a look into it but unfortuantely we can't change the navigation to further blog comments ourselves, it's part of the new typepad functionality. Unless anyone knows any HTML tricks I don't?

On a separate note we've had to remove the links to your facebook group from this blog and our own facebook page as your page contains the use of quite prominent swearing at the minute. If you can remove the swearing we're quite happy for you to re-link it again. Hope you understand.


I am very disappointed. I agree with a previous poster who said that now Innocent are just the fig leaf to Coca Cola's embarrassing issues. Reverse the decision - give the money back. You can raise capital other ways.

'Nuff said.

'minus another customer'

Hello Ted / Dan,
As you can edit start of page one, can 'Page Two, Page Three' etc be added here and linked to their respective web urls?
&/or highlight that people can navigate later pages by editing the end of the url

Regarding your removal of links to the 'Innocent Smoothies - give back Coca-Cola's dirty money' Facebook Group. I don't see anything there that would make even Father Ted blush. Is censorship the next compromise needed to facilitate expansion?

Good Luck guys! Keep doing what you're doing and prove all the doubters wrong. Love Caroline x

Gutted, this just feels wrong! I will be avoiding buying Innocent from now on and just make my own smoothies.

Very sad that greed got ther better of you. Ethical business principles went out of the window when Coke came calling with their money. Shame on you.

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