In the summer of 1998, the key players of Innocent decided to test their delicious smoothies at a jazz festival, made from pure crushed fruit and juices. They did not use any added sugar or concentrates.
They asked people at the jazz festival whether they should give up their day job to make these smoothies or nor. They majority of people said they should give up their day job and make smoothies. Shortly thereafter, the first Innocent smoothies went on sale in April 1999.
Today, Innocent is the leading smoothie brand in the UK. The company has grown from having zero to 68% market share. In 2007, Inocent's turnover was £100 million. The range is available in all UK supermarkets as well as thousands of independent cafés and health food stores.
In 2008 Innocent launched its orange juice (not made from concentrate) and moved into healthy foods, successfully launching Innocent Veg Pots. The team has expanded from its original 3 people to 270, based at Fruit Towers offices in London, Paris, Manchester, Amsterdam, Dublin, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Salzburg.
Keeping Things Natural
The first, key step in creating a sustainable business is the use of 100% natural, healthy renewable ingredients for Innocent drinks. Nothing is put into an Innocent smoothie bottle unless it is made by nature.
Each of Innocent's foods is genuinely good for people. Each of Innocent's products has a beneficial positive health benefit, as well as being free of manufacturing gimmicks like flavourings, concentrates, and other additives that depletes the nutritional value of food. Due to the focus on keeping everything natural, pure and healthy, the company name is Innocent.
Due to the company taking pride in each piece of fruit used, the fruit it buys is from farms that care for their workers as well as the environment.
Innocent favours farms certified by independent environmental and social organisations. This company pays a premium for fruit from farms with the highest ethical accreditations, like those from the Rainforest Alliance (all our bananas are Rainforest Alliance certified).
Certain fruit varieties Innocent purchases are not covered by existing certification schemes. So the company has set its own minimum standards which are very comprehensive, covering all relevant areas from working conditions to apt growing methods to protection of biodiversity.
These working standards are there to ensure growers, workers, the local environment as well as the country of origin benefit. We ask our suppliers to work towards these when an existing scheme is not available.
No set up can be perfect, yet Innocent encourages its growers to abide by minimum, fair standards, and improve its social and environmental performance on an ongoing basis.
The company launched a three-year 'Get Closer to the Fruit' programme in 2007. This involves Innocent team members and independent auditors checking environmental issues standards on Innocent farms, and working out the best methods for right results for workers, staff and the planet.
Innocent has been working collaboratively with the Rainforest Alliance over the last two years. The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-government organization, the mission of which is to protect ecosystems, people as well as wildlife that are dependent on them by changing business practices, land-use practices and consumer behaviour. Its principles are based on ethical practices through each stage of fruit production.
The Alliance provides certification programmes for sustainable agriculture, forestry and tourism within 56 countries across the world.
Innocent is working with the Rainforest Alliance due to the four following key reasons:
- Its standards relate to social as well as environmental issues
- It helps farms with long term skills and capability for more effective production as well as a better quality crop
- It works with every size and type of farm, providing the buying flexibility to purchase the quality and variety fruit Innocent needs
- The certification process is adopted by local NGOs ensuring local cultural issues are considered.
All Innocent bananas are from Rainforest Alliance certified farms. Innocent is presently working at ensuring all its pineapple juice for smoothies are from certified farms. Currently, there are just three certified pineapple farms in the world.
Additional to buying fruit grown more ethically, Innocent is also committed to funding a three year programme with the Rainforest Alliance to help teach more farmers a better way of growing as well as certifying more fruit like passion fruits, pineapples, oranges, bananas, acerola cherries and acai.
Innocent aims at for four main sustainability characteristics with regard to its packaging:
- To use 100% recycled/100% renewable material for its packaging
- To utilise the least possible amount of material per pack
- To use materials which have a low carbon footprint
- To use materials which have a widely available sustainable waste management option
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