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April 03, 2009


dear reece

is there any vegetarian alternative to lettuce that i could feed my tadpoles? i know that in nature they eat all sorts of insect/animals and each other. but I don't really want to deal with liver and stuff.



dear matthew,
It's quite difficult to find the food that tadpoles need as they're developing into frogs. I find they love fish flakes when they're young, and flakes of boiled egg can also be a good protein source, but any uneaten bits need to be removed from the water after an hour. When they grow back legs they reach the meat eating stage, so it might be best to return them to the wild to make sure they don't try nibbling each other.



And meanwhile we'll be selling our ethical brand image to Coca Cola corporation.

Have 'Innocent' lost sight of the issues that once seemed to be at its heart?

I am so disappointed. Coca Cola?!

Sorry that you're cross. But we're excited about the deal. It means we can get more of our healthy products to more people across Europe, and we will still be making all of the decisions. It's still our business, so we get to choose what happens regarding our products and our growth (Coca-Cola's stake is a minority investment between 10-20%). More here

This is the real face of Coca-Cola, the company to which you have just sold your soul...

Coca-Cola and Water - An Unsustainable Relationship

one of the worlds nastiest companies will be making a profit when people buy your stuff.......'exciting' that is not

The Coca Cola investment is shocking-it might only be 20% but its still giving a company who are at total odds with your ethos a portion of your profits. You'll lose all those customers who wanted to buy from an ethical company...including me. Shame on you.

The fact that you're so 'excited about the deal' really demonstrates that all these vaunted principles are so much hot air. You promoted your company as friendly, local and ethical - Coke is none of these. Of course customers who appreciated your ethical stance are disgusted. Your representatives keep saying 'but it's still our business' - I don't think this matters a whit to your customers. The fact that you think taking Coca-Cola's money is compatible with your business goals is information enough.

I think it is really easy for people to gallop around on their high horses about this issue. People are so quick to see the bad in these situations. I have no doubt that this was a thought through and carefully considered decision. No doubt innocent knew what people's reactions would be when they heard Coca Cola was the invester and they went ahead and did it anyway. That says to me that the positives outweigh the negatives in this situation.

I, for one plan on giving innocent the benefit of the doubt. They haven't let me down thus far. The proof of this belief will be in seeing what innocent does do in the coming months and hows it weathers this period of backlash.

I am sure everyone at innocent is feeling a little beat up on at the moment, so just know guys that I still think you are great, and I will continue to support you as long as you keep doing things the way you always have.

@wingman - it's even easier for people to turn a blind eye, ignore unethical practices and pretend that everything will be ok. Look at Pret A Manger, Green & Blacks, and all the other companies who started so well but sold out to gain market share. They're giving in to the idea that only globalisation will work.

Are you happy for 10-20% of profits from innocent products to go to an ethically unaware company like Coke? You may think you're supporting innocent, but you're really feeding corporate greed.

Oh dear oh dear

I think that the fact a specific blog thread hasn't been set up on this is very telling.

I'd imagine Coke put a stop to that one.

Come on innocent guys, grow some cahones, start a blog and get the debate out in the open, like you did with the McDonalds debate.

Or have you been gagged by the Coke big wigs??

Not gagged at all. As you can imagine, it's been a busy day. Normal blog service will resume shortly, when we get 5 minutes.

Why was my comment on the AGM post deleted??? Just because it was critical? It was satirical but perfectly civil. Shame on you.

Incredibly strange business decision.

Innocent smoothies are expensive so for me and everyone I know the decision to buy is based not only on the taste but also the belief in the brand and what it stands for.

Partnering with Coke is so opposed to everything Innocent has stood for up to this point I'm utterly confused as to why this decision has been taken for a relatively modest investment.

Won't be buying any more Innocent product I'm sorry to say.

There is an entire Wikipedia page devoted to criticism of Coca-Cola.
The last time I tried to post with examples of this criticism, my post was deleted, so I will just skip to the second concern:

What has happened to the Innocent Drinks blog post from October 13 2006 about Innocent's appearance on a Channel 4 News report criticising Coca-Cola and featuring some Innocent owners/staff?
In the Channel 4 clip you say "we're not for sale so please don't crush us"

The original link stopped working at some point between 15 February 2009 and 6 April 2009. Does not work as of 17:00 7 April 2009:

But here is a Google Cache of the post:

Hello Mlong. Happy for your recent comment to be present but the last one was removed due to mentions of the holocaust. We're really happy for this blog to host a reasoned debate regarding our recent deal but have to also keep it relatively civil. Thanks for commenting.

I think its a real shame.

No doubt there are a lot of arguments for (distribution etc), as there are against (ask John Pilger).

Just doesn't feel right to me, almost slightly embarrassing.

You could have got the money from anywhere, but chose Coke Cola.

Oh well, have a coke and smile...

"Sorry that you're cross. But we're excited about the deal. It means we can get more of our healthy products to more people across Europe, and we will still be making all of the decisions. It's still our business, so we get to choose what happens regarding our products and our growth (Coca-Cola's stake is a minority investment between 10-20%)." Sorry Innocent, if that's what you truly believe then Coke saw you coming. Ask anyone who worked in Appletizer in South Africa when Coke bought a mere 20% 'minority' share. All quiet for 6 months, then started throwing their weight around, imposing redundancies as it was their money paying for the 'overstaffed' Appletizer business etc etc. Basically they wanted Just Juice and they got it. Now they want a Smoothie brand to compete with Pepsi's Tropicana, and you've given it to them on a plate. Can't believe you honestly think Coke won't demand their money's worth for their £30million, then swallow Innocent up and spit out what they don't want within a year. Sad day.

i feel so let down by this deal - i've bought your products religiously for years not because of how they taste but because i thought i'd finally found a company that fitted with my own vision of how consumerism and democracy could work together for the greater good. This deal has completely shattered that belief.

I have boycotted Coca Cola for many years due to allegations about absolute atrocities they have committed around the world, most prominently in India and Colombia. I cannot live with myself if i know 1 penny of my weekly spend on innocent products was going to such an immoral and despicable company, let alone 20 per cent.

I'm sure you all feel justified by this deal, as you will say the majority of your customers wont raise an objection - however, that is due to the majority of your customers being ignorant to the values your brand holds, and equally ignorant to the human rights abuses committed by Coca Cola. To most customers, you are just another name on the supermarket shelve that they buy because it tastes nice, or is on special offer. But to the customers who have been with you loyally for years and have bought into the whole ethos and values of the business for years, this is a complete kick in the teeth.

Also, why is it necessary to expand your operations by artificial means? why do you suddenly have a desire to dominate the world, rather than just continue to do what you do well and grow according to your success and own means? Selling more products around the world, but selling your soul to the monster of Coca Cola really isn't the way forward, regardless of how 'happy' you are with the deal.

This is also a completely different story from the McDonalds deal - in that instance you were merely selling your product in an immoral outlet, and it could be argued you already do that due to the nature of the business you operate in (i would personally class Tesco's and Asda in the same category as McDonalds and Coca Cola for a lack of ethical standards). But to sell a stake to a company of that nature, and ensure that a percentage of every sale goes to funding their immoral activities is a completely different deal. It's just too far.

I am completely distraught at this decision, and will no longer buy your products until Coca Cola no longer have any interest in your company. It pains me to say it, but i simply cannot step back from my principles on this. Goodbye innocent. It was amazing whilst it lasted.

David and Clare Hieatt co-founders of howies describe their business like having a baby. You are the parent. You watch it try to walk. You pick it up when it falls. No one cares about it like you. No one frets like a parent.

Having just started our own business we understand how strong these feelings are.

And, having met you all we don't believe for a second that the decision to sell a share of the business to Coca-Cola was taken lightly or without careful consideration to how your drinkers would feel.

The idea that innocent would just 'sell-out' after building a business from nothing is ridiculous.

We will continue to drink your smoothies.

One last point: your tadpoles will refuse food after a while, and instead eat their own tails. This is completely normal. Your tadpole is undergoing some pretty big changes - it's just their way of letting you know that a frog is on the way.

James, Chris & Stuart

I'm tired of being told by innocent and others that I don't see "the big picture". My family have businesses, I'm not an idiot, I understand the need for capital and investment. But would you take money from anyone so long as they were hands-off? How about the Burmese Junta? Robert Mugabe? George Bush? I doubt it. No matter what you say, it IS important who you allow to fund you. Even if they don't have a controlling stake, they can still influence you. And you're already talking about the possibility of them being your suppliers in the future.

This is such a kick in the guts. I have never really cared about a company before, mainly because I hadn't found one that seems to match my principles. Then you go along and make a deal with a corporation that is at the top of my "avoid at all costs" list. Sorry, I have to follow my conscience and will be encouraging others to do the same.

I suggest Innocent employees watch The Corporation if they haven't already...

I'm gutted by this news. It cuts my ethics completely in half, how can I buy smoothies now, knowing full well that 20% of that profit goes straight to Coca Cola??

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