innocent drinks juice our drinks us news family bored? press innocent kids health careers
 
daily thoughts
weekly news
 
innocent - healthy jan
innocent - healthy jan
fruit picker
the dudes banana plane iPhone app


long live Alex
daily thoughts

This is what's on our mind today.
If you fancy getting a weekly digest in your inbox, join the family here

« reece's tadpole tips | Main | egg time »

April 07, 2009

Comments

I get it. Still a shame though. Is there no way to get on in this world without giving money to The Man?

I was in France when my husband informed me of the news of Innocent sell out to Coke. At first I thought he must have heard it wrong! Coke of all companies. Judging by the comments on here many of your customers feel the same. I will not buy coke or any of their products as I am totally against what they stand for as a company & was one of the reasons I supported Innocent in the first place. (sorry, I tell a lie- I did buy coke once as I heard it makes a great toilet cleaner- it does believe me!)
Im sorry to say,I too will no longer be buying any more Innocent products & will be unsubscribing from the weekly news. But I suppose if I was given the dilemma of losing a few customers or £30 million? Hmmmmm, which would I choose?
I just think you have trodden over everything you stand for but at the end of the day anybody can be brought for a price.
Good luck with your future plans- if you think Coca Cola will learn from your ethics dream on.

NOT HAPPY

Sometimes 'sell-out' just means that the business was not running properly. Credit crunch just showed it. In this case “the Coke deal” could be the first (or the last) nail to the coffin's cover. So again, Yankee-entrepreneur, who started it all, will get the money even on your funeral…

So very sad about this. I bought your smoothies as much for your strong ethics as for the quality.

First of all, respect for allowing people to have their say (you can see the 'but' coming, can't you?)

We have two issues with your decision. Firstly, the sale of part of your business to a global corporation. Yes, times are tough, but one of the reasons you give is that you want Innocent to become a 'global' company. This seems to tie in with the mantra that 'growth is good' which has caused the world so many problems in terms of the environment and now the economy. Why can't a company be satisfied with not being huge or global?

Secondly, if you thought it was right to have a larger investor (and we're sure much thought went into that decision), why Coke? The company has an appalling record on how it treats people and planet, from bottling plants in drought areas of India to suspicious deaths of trade unionists in Columbia. Perhaps you could have read Mark Thomas' excellent book 'Belching Out The Devil'. Listed companies have one duty and one duty alone and that is to maximise shareholder profit. They will only be ethical or green if it adds to the bottom line.

There's so much more we could say but we are so disappointed. A real kick in the (untouched by Coke) teeth. It's like losing a good friend. No, we won't buy Pepsi or Tesco alternatives (who'd shop there anyway??) but we'll have to find an alternative or make our own. Maybe a couple of people with an ethical stance might start up their own smoothie company...anyway, none of our money will be going to Coke & its shareholders either direct or via Innocent.

Yours with huge disappointment and heavy hearts.

I am very disappointed that you have gone with Coca Cola. We boycott them and have done so since we heard how they destroyed the water table in Kerala, South India. Now we also boycott Inocent or "not so Innocent" as you now seem to be. Bye.

I can't believe the backlash over this. I honestly don't care whether Coke own you or not. I'm not bothered about who has an investment in Innocent, however big or small. I drink Diet Coke (as does the vast majority of the population) so my ethics are clearly skewed anyway!

As long as your smoothies keep tasting as good as they've always done, as long as they maintain the daft packaging, and as long as you bring back the special Christmas one each year, I'll be there, buying your products.

People are far too pretentious these days and far too narrow-minded. There are only about a dozen companies in the entire world which own pretty much everything and there's not a lot you can do about that. Innocent would have been bought up sooner or later and I'm glad that they have only had a minority share taken by a company who guarantee to be hands-off. I believe them when they say this to be the case.

Big up Innocent smoothies, whoever's providing the funding!!

It looks like our comments has been deleted already - any reason?

Mistake. Won't be buying "innocent" again.
There was absolutely NO Need to Sell Out to "killer cola"! :-(
Sure Coke has a good distribution network but giving them a Chunk of equity in the company is regrettable.
Enjoy the money...
And watch as new and uncompromising brands enter the market!
I love(d) innocent and bought smoothies on a regular basis! Would have gladly put in £5000 towards the equity as would thousands of other happy customers. Especially with the low interest rates, a lot of people have cash to spare/invest!
Sure innocent could have partnered with P&G or Unilever to distribute, but I guess they had to (be a) sell out at some point.
What's next?
Thanks for the good years guys. Wish you all the Luck in the world!
N

Robyn, I'd rather be "pretentious" for caring about where my money goes than utterly fatalistic like you. You're right in pointing out that a few large companies control much of what we buy, but that just makes independent businesses (which used to include innocent) all the more unusual and important. That's why there's a backlash - we're sad to lose a company that allowed us to enjoy a product without feeling that we're harming others to get it.

Such a shame you feel you can't go futher without the need to let Coke join the party. I love your drinks and your ethos , I think though this will all change I'm afraid you've lost another loyal customer. My kids too, who still water the Christmas tree you sent all those years ago.

I am deeply disappointed. Innocents is no longer innocent. You were getting there under your own steam. It might have taken longer but you would have kept your integrity. You are intent on market domination now and the work greed comes to mind.

How could you do this??? COKE!!Anyone but coca cola! Are u insane...now i won't be buying ure products as any money u make will be part of a return to coke, who are totally unethical. How could u sell-out. The very reason i buy this is for the ethical reasons, this is such a contradiction helping the same communities in ure charities that coca cola exploits. so disappointed...not so 'innocent' now.....

EVERYONE has a price. Sometimes tough decisions have to be made. I'll still buy the smoothies and they'll probably be available in more places than they are now.

Shame shame shame on you - unless there is a retrieval - is that possible? as it seems Coke has you by your Innocent Balls - I shall be unsubscribing and buying alternatives!

Coke deplete valuable water resources in the developing world (3litres water - 1 of coke). How could you get it sooo wrong?

Soon you'll be wheeling out that ol chestnut about breaking omelettes to make eggs...I am disgusted.

I'm super disappointed in innocent. I boycott Coke for the same reasons of many posts above. Its a shame that after all these years of loving innocent I will now have to boycott you as well.

I would love to hope that you could make changes at Coke but some how I very much doubt it.

You have sold out to both Coke and your morals. How many tree's or communities will they care about? None! Bottom line for them is profit and it will be for you also.

You sold out end of!!

I will no longer be buying your products as I like business's that stick to the ethics and beliefs they are founded upon... very disappointing!

You should feel truly disappointed!

I am saddened by this news. Coke are not partners who I would chose or agree to go with personally.

Good luck to you anyway, but I am sorry to hear this news.

innocent seems to have lost their innocence...

No thanks to innocent now Coke is involved. I don't want to know.

Last week was last time I ever bought an innoncent product. I'm not buying coke merchadize, even less if it's hiding behind a self proclaming healthy brand. Well done to the founders who used the healthy hype to make a fortune and sell the concept to the worst corporate american cynical obese making company.

it's time for consumers to be smart and use their power, DON'T BUY INNOCENT AGAIN, DON'T SHOP AT TESCO OR ASDA, DON'T BE A RBS CUSTOMER etc....

Hi. I'm Andrew D. I work at innocent in the production team. I was the one who went to Malawi with the innocent foundation. I reckon its worth another perspective – completely my opinion, choose to take or leave it – at the end of the day I rely on you guys buying smoothies to keep me in a job so I guess I’m a “stakeholder” in this debate.

It came as a surprise when we found out the news this week. Being honest I was a little worried. After some time though, I think I’m actually more excited by what this means than concerned. Why? Because it means people are taking innocent seriously – both how we do things and what we stand for. If big companies (I’ve worked for a few) are taking notice then my feeling is that maybe there’s some hope that others might follow. I'd love to live in a world where everything is perfect but its not. Most people don’t care about their own recycling so how can we expect anyone to care about the mess we’re making of the place. Smoothies are not going to save the world (in the words of my friend Ceri - “get over yourself Dougal”). What will is actually trying to make small steps towards making things a little better each day. I feel that innocent will keep doing that whether coke are a minority investor or not.

Innocent is one of the few companies that I have seen that works in the world of business but that also gives back (to our consumers and to the foundation). I chose to work in a business that I believe in and that operates successfully in the normal commercial system. That means persuading people that RFA banana's are worth it and getting our consumers to support recycled bottles. It also means tough decisions like this one but I feel the guys have made one that is hopefully for a larger good (granted, they get richer too probably but hey, it’s a pretty cool business and its theirs). If this whole coke jazz makes us change then its simple, I’ll work somewhere else. If this coke thing means we can do what we were doing in a bigger and better way then I’m actually really up for it. Everyone has there own opinions which I love about innocent drinkers. Mine is to give this situation the benefit of the doubt and to make it work in a positive way. Andrew

To Steve and Gill (6.19pm). We haven't deleted your comment. It's still up there above this one.

innocent...couldn't it have at least been pepsi...

but on the plus-side, at least it wasn't LVMH...if so, then I'd definately stop buying...

your customer (for now)

As the mum of a former employee, I'm really sorry that you're getting so much criticism, but I suppose you must have expected it. We will continue to buy your drinks, for the most important reason - we love them.

What a shame. My children love your smoothies and your brand. We don't do the big globalised brands stuff (don't buy Coke and my children have only ever been to McDonalds once - to use thier loos) I feel betrayed by you and sad too when you realise in the future that this was indeed a bad decision for the company. I echo the others on this site that suggest you could have raised funds via your customers - I would have definately bought into that. And I don't understand the 10-20% share bit. Is it 10%? 15%? When does it become 20%? Sleep well Gentlemen.

I can see why you've made the choice to hold hands with Coke. It does make sound business sense, especially at the moment.

But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Financially Coke are sound, and obviously their stake in Innocent is small, but morally and ethically they're a disaster. If I continue to buy Innocent I'm giving cash to a morally bankrupt organisation - not to mention one that rotted large parts of my own body with their addictive liquid poison.

I really doubt this link with Coke will cause a noticable dent in your sales. Generally people don't give a toss about this sort of thing for very long. But I don't see myself getting out my knitting needles and starting on the bobble hats again this Autumn.

No wonder the innocent employees are so happy. They are depending on Innocent being privatised to get the money they are owed. Getting paid much less than market rate they have no option but to buy shares in the company, those shares being worthless until Innocent is listed but becoming very valuabe once they float. No doubt Coca Cola will be ready when the time comes to pay handsomely and finally the underpaid Innocent employees can stop worrying about being replaced by university students on loan caught up in marketing hype. Too bad this one is so hard to spin to consumers who believed in the independent business that cared.

That's it boys.

What you seem to have forgotten, or choose not to recall, is that we invested in YOU. We liked YOU; we liked what YOU stood for. YOU have betrayed us; we sought you out when you were little, we paid over the odds,we recommended you, we knitted, we contributed.

No more Innocent products for me or my family.

While initially disappointed by the news of the Coke deal, I hope the successful Innocent business model can influence Coke more than the other way around.
As long as Innocent says innocent - and the the smoothies don't get fizzy ;-) I'll still be a customer

Two words: sold out.

Two words: I'm out.

And to think I helped you win that ISP award for all those wooly hats.

I still trust Innocent and I believe in what they say. We will just have to wait and see if things are still good in one to two years time... Good Luck.

What a crying shame this is... Sorry guys but I've gone right off your smoothies now - I heard the Face The Facts investigation into Coca Cola's Indian factories back in 2003 and was appalled.

It's here if you're interested:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3096893.stm

From now on I'll be making my own smoothies with some Yeo Valley Natural Yogurt, lots of fairtrade bananas and a dash of vanilla.

Toodle pip

I have been a loyal fan of Innocent smoothies for many years now and was pleased to pay more because of the company's demonstrable corporate social responsibility and ethical stance as well as the fact that the smoothies are delicious.

Since Innocent has decided to do what I consider to be reprehensible in selling out to Coca-Cola - a company with an utterly dubious track record regarding its global corporate social responsibility (to be polite about it) - I will never again buy any of your products. It is such a shame. Shame on you!

Just so very sad :-(

Another customer lost.

I am going to boycott Innocent smoothies now; I'm very dissapointed in this news. I can't help contribute to the profits of evil coco-cola. Bye bye Innocent.

Like-minded disgruntled ex-Innocent customers should come and talk about it on this facebook group:

http://tinyurl.com/ckn9er

There is a series of emails between some chap called Rob and Richard Reed, who quite impressively took the time to reply personally.

Richard offers quite a balanced insight into Innocent's thinking, whether or not you agree is still entirely up to you of course, but it makes for interesting reading.

Come and join us and let's talk it over!

www.killercoke.org

guilty.
i will do my best to discourage everyone i know from drinking innocent from now on. good work you fools.

Good for the folks previously hoodwinked by your pseudo-ethical 'values' as a consumer option bull to see it exposed for the sham it always was

Hello there!

My daughter & I have been regular customers of your lovely smoothies for a long time now.

However, I heard your guy on Radio 4 the other day being interviewed re. the minority share Coke now have in your company and it really saddened me that we won't be able to enjoy your drinks and support your company any more.

Here's the thing...we didn't just buy your drinks because you were an independent company, or because you're making a really decent product (delicious and healthy!), or because you're doing very cool things like donating 10% of your profits to charity etc.
but precisely because you're not Coca-Cola!

I'm sure they don't currently hold enough sway within the company to start changing too much, but I don't want any of my hard-earned going to those people, supporting their unsound, unethical business practice around the world.
Perhaps sometime i'll have to eat my words when Coca-Cola own everything and everyone but until that day, i'll continue to do my small bit for those without dirty hands.

Shame, shame, shame...

Innocent.
shocked by the news, and dissapointed by the justification. For everything the brand coke has come to mean, this does not make a good bed fellow for Innocent. Choosing Coke, even with the justification of spreading Innocent throughout the world, does not stand by Innocents fundemetnal ethics. Coke is a representation of monumental capitalism. Having Coke as a 'big brother' is destroying innocents image. Even if working with coke improves sales and profits, Innocent is not about greed, it is about creating a healthy alternative that has not got multinational fingerprints.
As regualar consumers of your products, we are seriously considering boycotting as a demonstration against these actions.
Could you not have found ethical investment?
ultimatly the fear is that Innocent smothies will be contaminated.

I really hope my student union doesn't get wind off this! I need Innocent to keep scurvy at bay, but my student union boycotts all Coke products (in favour of the 'more ethical' Virgin *rolleyes*).

I understand why so many people are annoyed. A bit of me is too. But Innocent is such a good product, so I'll still buy it, for a while at least. As somebody mentioned above they did something sneaky with Appletiser, and I remember they did a similar thing with the independent fizzy drinks in India a few years back as well. I really hope the same doesn't happen.

But I feel boycotting will hurt Innocent and not even be noticeable to Coke, they'll just pull out leaving Innocent floundering. I don't want to see that.

Hello there!

My daughter & I have been regular customers of your lovely smoothies for a long time now.

However, I heard your guy on Radio 4 the other day being interviewed re. the minority share Coke now have in your company and it really saddened me that we won't be able to enjoy your drinks and support your company any more.

Here's the thing...we didn't just buy your drinks because you were an independent company, or because you're making a really decent product (delicious and healthy!), or because you're doing very cool things like donating 10% of your profits to charity etc.
but precisely because you're not Coca-Cola!

I'm sure they don't currently hold enough sway within the company to start changing too much, but I don't want any of my hard-earned going to those people, supporting their unsound, unethical business practice around the world.
Perhaps sometime i'll have to eat my words when Coca-Cola own everything and everyone but until that day, i'll continue to do my small bit for those without dirty hands.

Shame, shame, shame...

Very disappointed to read about "selling your soul to the coke devil", but perhaps you could convert all Coca-Cola drinkers to Innocent Smoothie drinkers. Just think how much money the government will save when we have a healthier population [I hope!]

Great, the little company I had so much faith in has got in with the wrong crowd. Soon there will be drugs and alcohol and it will bully all the little companies and take up smoking.

Many companies grow big and strong and stick to their guns, and you guys were doing well - really you were. But this? Have you stopped caring what people think? Obviously. Maybe you never cared. Maybe Innocent was just one big con from the beginning.

My brother always said to me "You know they're not as innocent as they like to make people think" and I always came up with a comeback. I always defended you. Now what's the point? It was obvious that I was wrong.

You won't read any of these comments and you don't care how I feel. But I hope you lose sales because of this: maybe that will make you think.

As the majority of people posting seem to agree that the deal with Coca Cola is a disgrace, maybe you would like to join my Facebook group protesting it - it will give a better idea of the strength of feeling if people 'stand up and be counted'.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=69906153146&ref=nf

You've sold your souls to the devil! All your words of being ethical now have a hollow ring to them. Coca-cola are a nasty nasty company and if anyone has any doubts about that they should read 'Belching out the Devil' by Mark Thomas.

Perhaps there should be a name change to 'Guilty'.

I make a point of not buying coca-cola products and that will also now include Innocent.

We feel innocent has lost its innocence.

Dan
Thanks - but our comments did just seem to disappear for a while. Still disappointed though.....

This decision feels to me a bit as if Innocent had decided to use concentrate instead of whole fruits!

This decision surely fundamentally changes the nature of the business from a independent, ethical company to just another (but rather expensive) smoothie maker (remember PJs?).

Whats the point of Innocent now?

Guys, I'm sorry but I really think you've just lost the thing that made your product worth the premium price. It really doesn't matter what PR spin you put on this it's not right to line 'unethical' Coke's pockets so that you can reach more people with your 'ethical' product. It's a great decision on paper giving you a massive distribution network but the reality is that for many people (not all) your product was an emotional one. There are other nice smoothies out there but you had such a strong market differentiation - hope it works out!

It is like when a small band becomes too big for it's boots. They see the $ signs and abandon the people that supported them from the very beginning for the money the big corporate labels can give them. People who originally bought Innocent drinks were the people looking for something different and who were probably boycotting coke. Innocent have now seen the $ signs and they will be successful because a new bunch of smoothie drinkers will replace the original ethical ones. We will soon see Innocent like we see coke and McDonalds. It will be lapped up by those who buy cokes with their big macs, but now they can have a cranberry and socks smoothie too. The selling point will be "ethical and yummy" and the McSmothie drinkers will feel good about themselves while one of the most disgusting companies on this planet gets a cut of the ethical profits. You can count me out as an Innocent smoothie drinker :(

http://www.killercoke.org/
http://www.indiaresource.org/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3523303.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3550063.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3096893.stm
http://www.newstatesman.com/200405240002
http://www.actionaid.org.uk/433/mark_thomas_wells_went_dry_and_crops_failed.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2003/jul/25/water.india
http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2006/mar/19/business.india1
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=7508

Big, big mistake to trot out Coke's responses to the numerous allegations made against them on Facebook.

Stop it - before someone suggest you do a live debate on the issue with Mark Thomas. Someone whose ethical credentials against yours will make you look silly.

Guys, you're showing your under pressure and you're making fundamental mistakes which belies your experience.

I came across the Coke machine courtesy of my Dentist whose post-grad student he tutored had been stopped from publishing her gathered evidence that Diet non-sugar fizzy drinks, Coke included, had a direct link with caries in teeth. Coke did not say that they had evidence to the contrary (though that could have been arranged, if you know what I mean). They just sent a Lawyer around who said that she will be crushed by the Coke machine.

So, you are onto plums if you think the goodness of Coke will prevail.

C'mon guys. Get working. Burn some midnight oil and use your super marketing brains to work your way out of this one.

You know you can't ask the Coke Communications Division to help you because they know nada about an ethical, hippie marketing pitch. That's one of the reasons they bought you , right?

No, you've got great pedigree and fantastic connections in the corporate consultancy world, so hit that phone and get working........

Here's my advice, for what it's worth...keep schtum.

The furore will die down. Amplify your brilliant branding and communications work to reiterate 'the message'. Do something extraordinary for charity or for the Amazon or something, to show that your still innocents abroad in the big, bad corporate world. In fact, let Coke take over your management of the subcontracted companies that make your drinks for you . And you guys concentrate your brilliant comms work on seeing through that world domination plan you put together.

Good luck. I truly mean that. I think you will be truly gob-smacked at the backlash here. You had spun your message so brilliantly you began to believe you were invincible (and could burp with the devil and still string along your followers).

You were only brilliantly trained corporate guys; ex-consultants and ad-men who were actually too good at what you did. You will survive and thrive.

But now the cats out the bag, it'll be without my money from now on.

PepsiCo bought out PJ Smoothies, and now Coca Cola have bought out innocent. Where are PJ Smoothies now? History.

Coca cola always have and always will make the most money out of unhealthy junk drinks, and now they own you guys, who make way more expensive costly healthy drinks. Its only a matter of time before innocent becomes not so innocent. They own your asses now, and as much you like to convey to the public that nothing will change... they have the money and thus they rule you.

Like Jane said a few pages above, I can see why you did it but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

I wish you best of luck with expanding your business. Perhaps you can rest better when your smoothies appear in vending machines in inner city American schools, in a space bought with the specific intention of capturing and exploiting schoolchildren (!!) amongst Coca Cola's other 'achievements'. I suppose it is better than some terrible fizzy drink but I cannot be a part of this.

As far as my shopping dollar goes, you have lost your USP. You join a list of products I mourn the loss of including brands like Green & Blacks and Bodyshop. I live in hope that this opens up the market for something else local and independent.

I am not saying anything that has not already been said but I just felt that I needed somewhere to put this immense sadness to bed. Thanks for a lovely decade but goodbye!

Goodbye losers, I'm never buying another smoothie from you again.

Smoothies rot your teeth like hell and make you fat. I now have no enamel on my front teeth from drinking innocent every morning. I might as well have glugged down a nice fat pint of cola!! Lost interest in Innocent months ago anyway. 'This Water'? Nothing more than over-priced Ki-Ora. Blackberries & Blueberries (my favourite) must have been too expensive to make so was axed last summer. And despite being a member of the 'family' haven't really heard a peep from Innocent for well over a year. Not even a Christmas card...

I am so disappointed at what I see as Inocent's sell out to corporate capitalism. I had really believed what I read and heard about Innocent 'being different'abd 'breaking the corporate mould'. How wrong I was. I shall not be buying Innocent any longer.

Complete and utter disgust - how could you do it? Why, why, why sell out???

You sell outs. Innocent will never be the same. you just lost another customer poo poo!

Rubbish. Well I'm out.

Makes great business sense - you surpassed the hippies who care about the real stuff a while ago, now you've built up a nice little image of rainbows and puppy dogs, so who cares what you actually do, right?!

This is why I hate everything. I'm going back to my hole.

I remember how sick I felt when Roddick sold Body Shop out to l'Oreal. . . this doesn't feel much different. Also reminds me of the man who asks a woman if she will sleep with him for ten million pounds. "Why, of course" replies the woman. "Well then, I should like you to sleep with me for twenty quid" says the man. Furious, the woman asks the man if he thinks she's nothing more than a whore. "We established what you were with my first question", replies the man "now we are just negotiating your price".

This reminds me of the feeling I had when Roddick sold out the Body Shop to l'Oreal. And the man who offers a woman ten million quid to sleep with him. The woman agrees and the guy immediately drops his offer to twenty quid. Indignant, the woman asks what kind of person the guy thinks she is. The guy explains that he'd established the sort of person she was with his first question; the second was just to negotiate her price.

I would like to know more about the exact nature of this guaranteed "hands off" appraoch. What has been agreed?

Even if this proves watertight I still have issues about how the money Coke are funding you with was made - But I do accept that your brand and the promises attached have always been about natural products, fair trade and recycling - and not the anti-capitalist arguments many who supported your brand hoped you might stand for.

I suppose you are breaking our idealistic expectations rather than any promises you have made.

and here i was thinking greedy, unscrupulous growth was like so last year!

Im really dissapointed in you, I believe in your ethics, I dont believe in Cokes, Im sorry Im guessing Ill add it to the list of products to avoid from now on, along with Pret, and Green and Blacks, who sold out too.

I'm saddened and disappointed, but it's your company to do with as you wish. Good luck for the future, I think you may need it. This is my stop, goodbye.

Innocent Board of Directors - Welcome to the world of Viral Marketing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_marketing) your recent news will be your down fall, I have heard people talk about this news all over the net.

I live on a low income but have always justified buying innocent for my son as it is made locally and appeared to come from an ethical company, we even went to the innocent fete last year.

I would rather give my son Ribena than give Coke a penny...

The Letter to Innocent From Mark Thomas:

"Hi Richard

I just wanted to drop you a note regarding your new found partnership with Coca Cola. An acquaintance mailed you earlier today and passed
your response on to me. There are some fundamental factual
inaccuracies and ignorance in your reply. You wrote:

"As a business, Coke are definitely not perfect (although it is worth
saying that independent judicial enquiries at the time found that the
Columbia (sic) allegations to be unfounded, the same with India water although I am nervous about saying these things as it makes it sound
like I am here to represent Coke, which I am not). But they do show a relatively good track record in learning and making good on the things
they get things wrong. And the people we've met have been decent, ordinary folk."

The allegations against Coca Cola in Colombia are simple: trade unionists working for the company have been intimidated and murdered,
in one case Isidro Segundo Gil was killed inside the plant, virtually under the Coca Cola logo, to this day Coca Cola have not had any
independent investigation into the allegation that managers of the bottling plants in Colombia colluded with or directed the para
military death squads. The murders happened over 12 years ago.

Your response states that "independent judicial enquiries at the time found that the Colombia allegations to be unfounded," What independent judicial enquiries are you referring to? The Colombian judicial
system has managed to investigate, prosecute and convict about 1% of the trade unionist murders, out of thousands. So any investigation conducted in Columbia is hardly independent and barely qualify as enquiries.

Or do you refer to the USA court case ? Here the Alien Tort Claims Act is being used to try and get the Colombian bottlers and the parent
company in the dock. But it can't be that one as initially the case was found to be inadmissible (though it is being appealed), so this is
obviously not the 'independent judicial enquiries' that you refer to,
is it?

So what 'independent judicial enquiries' are you referring to?

You do not mention the fact that the Coca Cola Company tried to silence the Colombian trade unionists who brought the case against
them in the USA. Coke offered to settle out of court to the tune of about $13 million on condition that they give up their jobs working in the Coke bottling plants and that the trade unionists never ever
criticise Coke nor any other company that work with Coke in the future. Had the trade unionists signed and taken the $13 million they would break the terms of the settlement and be liable to court action if they criticised you Richard.

Neither do you mention the trade union busting of the companies bottlers. The cases of Coke plant managers falsifying evidence against trade unionists, accusing them of terrorism. resulting in innocent men wrongly imprisoned for 6 months before the charges against them being dismissed.

You do mention the fact that over some 15 years the companies bottlers has gone from about 80% of the work force being in permanent
employment with 20% casual labour to the situation we now find, where 20% of the work force is permanent and 80% casualised with no rights
to even join a trade union.

Richard, I have spent some time in Colombia interviewing and taking testimony from people who witnessed Isidro Segundo Gil's murder to the delivery men who are not allowed to join a union. I am happy for you to have all of these interviews and for you to review them and see for
yourself. I can even put you in touch with the people themselves, so if you wish you can visit Colombia and talk to them face to face, I
think you would find them decent ordinary folk.

And so onto India, there are many stories here but let us stay with the stories about the Company opening plants (in a water intensive industry) in water sensitive areas with with little or not regard for the communities who find their water compromised and depleted. Once
again you say independent judicial enquiries have found claims unfounded. Once again I ask what independent judicial enquiries.

Firstly there are four plants where the companies operations have put the local community water in danger, in Kerala, near Jaipur and two in
Uttra Pradesh. Two of these four plants have been shut down after protests and legal challenges. Coke were forced to close these plants.

The two remaining plants are near Jaipur and near Varanasi, neither plants have had judicial enquiries that found any claims of water
depletion unfounded. So I am at a loss as to what judicial enquiries you refer to.

Happily for you Richard I have spent time in India too, and am happy for you to have access to all the interviews I have conducted with local people from all four of the plants, so you can hear for yourself what the allegations are.

Richard, you fail to mention the allegations that are raised against the company in Turkey regarding union busting or in El Salvador
regarding Coke's sugar being produced with the help of child labour. Neither do you refer to the allegations of union busting in Ireland or
the curt findings against the company in Mexico, where they were found to be in breech of anti monopoly law and intimidated some of the
poorest shop owners.

So I am happy to send you a copy of my book which details some of these things BUT more importantly I offer to make my research and interviews on all of these issues available for you to come and peruse, so you might be able to make a more balanced comment on your partnership with the company. I do not understand how you can make comments that Coke have a "relatively good track record in learning and making good on the things they get things wrong" without
considering these points.

Yours, Mark Thomas"

uh oh, I think you guys may have made a poor decision with this one, but most things you have done have turned out well so I'm interested to see what happens.

This wont stop me from buying innocent products but by the looks of things you will lose a lot of your buyers, you need to do something!

I think the guys at Innocent will have expected a backlash from this. However, my personal opinion is that surely Coca-Cola recognising the importance of both the ethical and environment responsibilities that a company has is important. Perhaps Coca-Cola will learn from Innocent? I hope so.

The Innocent ethos is strong and fellow customers, please lets give the team at Innocent chance to show that nothing's changed. Maybe we can even be optimistic that Innocent will use their links with Coca-Cola to address Coca-Cola's CSR record? I hope so.

Can't believe how disappointed I am with this. I will no-longer be purchasing your products. You sold out. It disgusts me.

Innocent is not innocent anymore! Innocent new that they will loose market share in the UK and weren't bothered about it because of the increaed money they will make by entering new markets. That's business! Innocent you have sinned...repent!

If you like innocent products then I would be happy about this.

This investment will allow innocent to be available in more places and it will mean that more great products like veg pots can be created.

For those of you that have said you will never buy an innocent product again - that is very sad. You will undoubtedly miss out on the exciting new products that I am sure will come out of this.

There are lots of things that make innocent the brand it is - the quality and taste of the products, the ethical standards, the content on the website / the bottles, the people who work at innocent but most importantly it is the drinkers / veg pot eaters (us). The passion shown in these comments is a testament to how strong the brand is today.

Say what you think, let innocent know what you want and I have no doubt it will be a large part of the consideration of what innocent do in the future...but don't miss out on the innovation.

All the best,

Jacob (I used to work for innocent)

So now it's 'GUILTY' Smoothies. eh?

Facebook shall be informed of this...and of Mark Thomas' book and his letter to you guys.

You might think that this response is coming from someone who is abnormally politically active, but no. This has just made me pretty unhappy. I'm probably your ideal target bracket. I even went to your fete last year and could be counted amongst all of your other middle class consumers.

Sooo disappointed.

In the 70s, I got offered a job to launch Coke in the Chinese market. Money was huge, job prospects were good and I was 24, but I just didn't believe in the brand so couldn't take the job. Coke stands for selling crap to people who deserve better. It also kills off the local fizzy drink market as it muscles its way into villages offering free fridges with the proviso that only coke and coke affiliates go into those spanking new cabinets. Small shops can't resist what they think is a helping hand, so cave in and bang goes another small drinks company. So when I see Innocent in China alongside those coke bottles, no I won't be thinking how great it is that Innocent has spread its wings. I shall just be thinking about why Innocent was not happy enough to be successful in its own European market with slow growth. Coke can now send Innocent out to kill off small hopefuls in Poland or Indonesia which could have been doing what you guys did. No village fete for me this year either. I do not want to see a Coke logo anywhere near where I am having fun.

I was always a bit cynical about Innocent's motives, but I never thought that you would sell out to Coca Cola. Coca Cola are not just any old drinks company, they have quite a track record.

Nothing talks like big wedges of cash, and don't try to pretend that it doesn't.

A very sad day.

As most others have said, I think this move is a disgrace to everything Innocent stood for for me. I was so sold by your company's small festival origins, and have rooted for you all through your expansion. But by putting money in coke's pockets, you are adding to one of the most horrendous companies I am aware of. With the string of deaths from union representatives to people in countries whose water supplies have been poisoned by this morally bereft company, you have joined up with people who stand for everything I believed you were against.

I understand the need for financial support in order for companies like yourselves to grow, but I can't believe there were no other options. And I also find it hard to believe that you think Coke will keep their big noses out when your business is now helping to line their pockets.

Although by no means a malicious move by you guys at innocent, it is my view that is at best a terribly misguided one. This is most upsetting. Sorry Innocent.

Innocent

I loved your product and everything that it stood for. But what leaves a sour taste in my mouth is that you now have your hand in Coke's pocket.

How very depressing.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
DONT DO THIS
COKE ARE EVIL AND RUBBISH!!
WHY INNOCENT, WHY?!?!?!
PLEASE DON'T DO THIS!!!
COKE ARE THE EVILEST COMPANT IN WORLD AND YOU CAN DO THIS ON YOUR OWN!
MY MOUTH DROPPED WHEN I HEARD THAT YOU HAD DONE THIS
PLEASE RE-THINK GUYS!!!
i love your smoothies but if coke are in this then sad times =(

Might I add it will be interesting to see what happens next, I'll still be drinking your smoothies cos I love 'em - best of a bad bunch I suppose!

I'm really on the fence on this subject. On the one hand, I have no particular aversion to buying the occasional Diet Coke (for the missus, personally I prefer Pepsi Max). On the other hand, you judge a man by the company he keeps, and Innocent have teamed up with a company so far removed from the Innocent values it's ridiculous.

I really love the smoothies and the veg pots, and no doubt I'll continue to buy them for now in the absence of a better product. I've been a real huge fan of the Innocent ethos, but I have to say my 'fandom' and willingness to buy Innocent products has been severely dented.

Innocent said: "The investment means we now have the funds to do what we’re here to do; get more healthy stuff to more people and places across Europe and beyond"

And in turn more dosh in your pockets. Goodbye innocent. Your halo has slipped!

I'm pretty annoyed by this as Coke has well documented human rights abuses in developing countries. Claiming to care about the farmers who grow the fruit whilst a significant investor destroys access to water and pervents workers joining trade unions doesn't really add up. You've lost a loyal customer.

What I think is really important is that everyone who is writing on this blog, saying that they're not going to buy anymore, actually follows through on their words. I think innocent will listen if their profits drop - and coke will probably want to drop their investment then as well.

One last point - at least you're letting us comment, innocent. Thanks for that.

What a shame, I loved your smoothies, OJ and meals.

Having read Mark Thomas's book about Coke - "Belching out the DEVIL" there is absolutely no way I will continue to purchase your products. I simply will not line Coke's pockets even if it is only 10-20%.

What an ethical sell-out!

Business is business, it's not always nice and at least there's still a chance to fight the good fight from the inside. Innocent are still for now a different approach in a nasty world and get my support. If things change then so be it (and I'm sure companies like Coca-Cola have been trying to get a bigger slice of Innocent's pie - mmm, Innocent pie - for years now) but for now make the most of what's good.

Firstly, a confession. I buy diet coke. So I don't have a problem with Coca Cola as a company (maybe I should, and maybe I will now I am understanding a little more about their (lack of) business ethics). At the moment though, I buy it because I like the taste. I have no emotional engagement with the brand.

That is not the case with Innocent.

Until a couple of days ago, I also bought Innocent Smoothies. But I buy them for different reasons. I like the taste yes, but more than that I buy them because of the perception I have of everything the brand - of everything that Innocent stands (or, rather, stood) for. It's like Green & Blacks used to be. Although I don't buy that any more either.

At first I thought this was all a wind up. I have held (what I perceived to be) your values in the highest regard for some many years. I've held you up as an example of what a good company can do when it sticks to its values and principles.

I have never posted something like this before - this should tell you something about the strength of negative feeling you have incited in me. I am disgusted. I am offended beyond belief. I feel let down and patronised. Instead of seeing Innocent as an example of strong ethics, I now see it as an example of how to sell out to a mindless, faceless corporation in the pursuit of making more and more and money at the expense of morality. It isn't that you have sold out at all (that is your prerogative) - it's that you have made fools of your consumers in the process. Why on earth didn't you offer the shares to your consumers to get you the money you wanted? I'd have been first in the queue - clearly my money is not as good as Coca Cola's eh?

Having been a loyal customer for so many years, I feel sad to have to withdraw my support because at the end of the day you have employees to employ, people whose incomes depend on the decisions you take, but to drink an innocent smoothie now would leave too bitter a taste for me. It's not about the fact that it's Coca Cola, it's about the fact that you lied to us about what you stood for.

Really sad news. Another product with the Coca-cola 'brand on', not a good look for the innocent brand that has always felt so unique and genuine. I agree the USP has gone. Back to me, my juicer and the hand blender me thinks!! Put the money back into the local community, local farmers and NOT into multi million pound pockets of coca-cola! Very disappointed.

Such sad, sad news.

Gosh, what a lot of negative people there are in the world! Coke are interested in moving up the green and friendly scale and have bought into an ethical and groovy company in a respectful manner. Sounds quite positive to me that the ethical company gets a global platform to broadcast its values. Can we all please take a moment before we start the prejudicial soapbox screaming? Let's at least give peace a chance, people!

How could you do this?

I just discovered your wonderful veg pots; the answer to how to pick up a very tasty but healthy lunch that you can have every day in the office, and now the search has to begin again.

I'm not bothered about Coca-Cola selling sugar like some people seem to be, people can buy what they want, but you are unfortunately now compromising your ethical integrity by supporting a company that is alleged to willfully deny communities the basic human right of access to drinkable water so they can sell them bottled water.
(See http://www.killercoke.org/)

Sorry guys, but I can't buy from Nestle, Tesco or Coca-Cola and keep a clear conscience, and that now means unfortunately, I can no longer buy any Innocent products.

Thanks for all the joy you have brought us in the past. There's now a gap in the market for your ethically uncompromised replacement, lets hope they come soon.

Really sorry to see you've sold a share of the business to Coke. Fair enough that you want to expand the business - there are better ways to do it. Now you're no different to any other business that just happens to give some of its profits to charity. I'd think twice before buying an innocent smoothie again.

Please join the fb group:

Innocent is not Innocent: Facebook Against their Coke Shareholding.

Lets use all forums to show discontent. That way as many of your consumers as possible can find out how you've just screwed your brand.

I won't be buying any more innocent products. totally sold out. these things never work out - such a shame that greed wins out in the end. someone else will pick up the mantle hopefully.

spectacular owngoal. bye.

Sounds like a load of Coke and Bull ! I'm sure you could expand without their investment just a bit slower or asking your customers to invest. I loved the ethos of Innocent but it looks like you have taken the cash. Such a shame I've been buying your drinks for years, watering the tree you sent for Christmas for years too. I accepted paying a bit more for a company I agreed with. Looks like I won't be buying innocent smoothies anymore.

The comments to this entry are closed.

subscribe to this blog's feed


youtube
our YouTube channel

flickr
innocent big knit 2010
2008/2009/2010 AGM
veg pot veg art
2008 village fete

our other blogs
innocent in Sweden blog*
innocent in Ireland blog
innocent in Denmark blog*
our Big Knit 'knitter-natter' blog
our innocent village fete blog
*contains foreign language & open sandwiches

monthly archive
2011
january |  february |  march |  april |  may |  june |  july |  august |  september |  october |  november | 
2010
december |  november |  october |  september |  august |  july |  june |  may |  april |  march |  february |  january | 
2009
december |  november |  october |  september |  august |  july |  june |  may |  april |  march |  february |  january | 
2008
december |  november |  october |  september |  august |  july |  june |  may |  april |  march |  february |  january | 
2007
december |  november |  october |  september |  august |  july |  june |  may |  april |  march |  february |  january | 
2006
december |  november |  october |  september |  august |  july |  june | 



powered by typepad