FEATURE20 August 2018

Smooth operator

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FMCG Features Impact Retail UK

Innocent established the UK’s fruit smoothie market as a quirky new entrant almost 20 years ago. Now it’s trying to maintain that entrepreneurial spirit as it expands across territories and categories. By Jane Bainbridge


Years ago, when innocent’s fruit smoothies first hit our shelves, I visited one of the initial incarnations of Fruit Towers – as the company’s head office is named – to interview one of its founders. It was early days; the three college friends who set up the business were running it with a handful of staff, and it was growing fast.

Innocent was the launch story everyone wanted to talk about. Unique, quirky, with an incredibly strong brand voice, it was the new kid on the soft drinks block, taking ready-made smoothies to the UK population.

Much has changed since then. Its founders are multi-millionaires, selling the business to Coca-Cola – first a stake in 2009, then the whole thing in 2013; some products have come and gone, while others have been revamped; and the company has expanded into fresh markets across Europe, with new headquarters in the UK.

When you enter Fruit Towers today, however, the original innocent ...