Innocent Drinks first established a leading position in UK supermarkets with its range of lovingly prepared fruit smoothies. Assisted by quirky and offbeat marketing, Innocent was one of the country's fastest growing food and drink products during the first decade of the 2000s, earning a position among the UK's top 50 supermarket brands. Growth began to slow in 2007, encouraging the company to broaden its footprint. Vegetable-based ready meals were a modest success, but the company has enjoyed its most spectacular success with traditional freshly squeezed orange juice, cutting deeply into the sales of existing market leader Tropicana. Inevitably that growth attracted the attention of larger groups and in 2009, Innocent agreed to sell a minority shareholding to Coca-Cola to raise expansion capital. The soft drinks giant acquired full control in 2013, but Innocent continues to operate semi-autonomously in its own premises, separate from the main Coca-Cola organisation. Innocent finally overtook Tropicana for the first time in 2017 to become the UK's top-selling branded juice & smoothies brand. The ready meals were dropped in 2015, but a variety of other product lines have joined the portfolio in recent years, including dairy-free nut and oat milks, coconut water and sparkling fruit waters. Nielsen (for The Grocer) estimated retail sales of £254m in 2020 for Innocent's juice range, some £40m ahead of Tropicana. The company has also launched a presence in 14 countries in continental Europe, and more recently Japan and Australia. It claims a 21% share of the Western European chilled juice market. Douglas Lamont is CEO of Innocent Drinks. Corporate entity Fresh Trading Ltd reported consolidated turnover of £432m in 2019, but a net loss of £13m. UK arm Innocent Ltd reported turnover of £233m and a net profit of £17.9m.
Capsule checked 27th January 2021
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