...for it was on 28th April 1999 that we sold our first smoothie, in a small London sandwich shop called Out To Lunch. If memory serves us correctly, 16 bottles were bought that day – we know this number precisely because we nipped down to the shop every half hour to have a look through the window to see if anyone had bought one.
So we just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to you. Thank you to all of the people who have ever drunk one of our drinks. Thanks to the farmers and fruit growers. Suppliers and manufacturers. Van drivers and shopkeepers. Journalists and bloggers. There’s a cast of thousands who need to be thanked for helping us get this far. Without you, we’d just have an expensive fruit-crushing hobby.
We’ve got 100 magic boxes of innocent stuff to give away, plus 10,000 vouchers for a free drink to commemorate this happy day. All you have to do to get your hands on one of these birthday-shaped items is click here (this link was only available to the innocent family) and fill in your details. Then we’ll pick names from a very big hat this weekend and Bob’s your uncle, over 10,000 people will be a bit happier.
Each birthday box contains a limited edition t-shirt (designed by us to commemorate the occasion and available as the howies t-shirt of the week from this Thursday for the next seven days), as well as a copy of our new book, our old recipe book, a load of smoothies and veg pots, and anything else we can find to fill it up.
As mentioned above, we’ve just published a new book. About two years ago we started talking about writing a book about innocent. So we racked our brains and tried to remember all of the important stuff and sat down to write it. As can happen with these things, it took us a bit longer than we thought, but we finally finished it off just after Christmas, and it’s now printed and in all good bookshops, Amazon and the usual places. Entitled “innocent – our story and some things we’ve learned”, it tells the tale of the first ten years, and is a book for anyone who wants to start their own business, bring fresh thinking to their current one or has been told their idea won’t work. innocent is a business that almost didn’t happen (we were turned down by every bank and investor in the land), and we hope by telling our story we can encourage other people to have a go at doing their own thing. It has lots of pictures too. Very important.
- On this day in history.
- Look who shares our birthday – him, her, him and him.
- How man made smoothies before we launched.
- Number one in the charts on the day we launched. Beautiful.
22nd April 2009
Hello. Everything’s gone green. Read on for more...
The bananas have split
Well, you asked us so we made it. Lots of you have been asking for ages for a banana-free smoothie. Nothing has been more requested. So we’ve been working in the kitchen, figuring it out, and we managed to crack it. The brand new recipe is kiwis, apples & limes, and not only is it banana-free, but it’s also very, very green. This means we’ve cracked problem number two – we’ve been trying to make a green smoothie for years as well. So, two stars have collided. It’s green. It’s banana-free. Monumental (at least round our way).
So what’s next?
Well, that could depend on what you ask for. The banana-free smoothie is here because you asked for it. We have a kitchen, we have fruit, we have bottles and blenders. We’d like you to tell us what to do with them. We can’t promise everything will happen in some sort of super efficient haze – like the man Michael said, you can’t always get what you want. But if you click here and fill in the request box, you just might find you’ll get what you need. Ask away.
Our AGM is approaching fast. Some of you may have already entered the ballot in order to get a ticket, but even if you aren’t able to make it this year, we’d still love you to get involved. If you have any burning questions about innocent or just want to know where Jon gets his hair done (we think it might be Clippers in Guildford), then you can submit them here and we’ll put them forward on the day. We’ll be filming everything so you’ll see all of the answers on the site afterwards.
- The sun is quiet.
- Snow rollers.
- They can see you naked.
- The remotest place on Earth.
- Wolf chase pig.
16th April 2009
Hello and welcome. This week’s news contains light up bottles, the taste of springtime and no bunny shaped chocolate whatsoever.
A special Q&A
Lots of you got in contact after last week’s announcement about the Coca Cola minority investment in our business. We’re making our way through all your emails but thought it’d also be handy to set up a Q&A section on our blog to answer the most commonly asked questions. We put those questions to Rich (one of our founders) and then filmed his response to them. So if you’d like to see what he had to say, just click here.
Lean, green, spring veg machine
Well, not a machine at all as it happens. Not in the turbine driven, robotic sense of the word anyroad; more in a vegetable powered pot of greenness type way. Tenuous rhyming aside, what we’re trying to say is that our new seasonal veg pot recipe is out in the shops right now and it’s a springtime corker. Fresh spring greens, chargrilled artichokes and a dollop of crème fraiche, all combined into a sprightly medley that’s as lean and green as you like. In fact, we’d go so far as to say there isn’t a tastier way to eat your greens this springtime. Unless you happen to be a lamb, frolicking in a meadow somewhere of course. In which case you probably won’t have access to microwave technology as it is.
Pulling it off
You might have noticed the caps on our big cartons have changed. A small detail maybe but it’s the small things that make the big difference. Our old caps used to have this ring pull thingy which you had to pull off to pour your smoothie out. Since our smoothies need a good shake first, that sometimes resulted in stuff getting splashed when you pulled the seal off. Shoes, kitchens, the occasional household pet. We’ve been working hard to sort it out and after 9 months of cap fiddling, we’ve finally pulled it off. No more splash back, expensive dry cleaning bills or trips to the dog groomers. Our new caps mean you can now unscrew and pour straight away. They’ve been specially designed to make sure your smoothie stays just as fresh as always. And to cap it all off, by switching to these new caps, we’ll also be saving 20 tonnes of plastic a year. Top marks indeed.
Rate rate rate
Big well done to Lucy in Glasgow who was last month’s rate and review winner. For a chance to win a trolley load of smoothies next month, just leave your comments here.
- Bottle light.
- Counting chickens.
- Have your say.
- Lost a planet?
- Easter house.
8th April 2009
Three words. First word - sounds like miss. Second word – sounds like peeks. Third word - rhymes with mews but starts with n (clue: you’re reading it and yes, it does get better).
Straight from the horse’s mouth
You might have read in the news this week (here, here and here for example) that Coke have bought a minority share in our business (10-20%). The reason that we’ve done this is to fund our push into Europe and get our natural, healthy stuff to lots more people and places. Of all the potential investors we spoke to, Coke were the ones who guaranteed a hands-off approach; an approach that means that we’ll continue to run innocent our way. So nothing’s going to change at Fruit Towers. Richard, Adam and Jon will still be leading the business. We’ll still be making the same products in the same way as ever and we’ll still continue to support charities in the countries where our fruit comes from. Our founders have a written a letter to explain everything here and as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts. So have a read and let us know what you think right here.
Treemendously good paper
The forests that hold the trees, that make the paper, that make the wedges, that hold our kids smoothies and stop them slopping all over your fridge, are officially well looked after. Officially. Over the next few months, you’ll see a little tree logo popping up on the side of our kids wedges which is proof that they’re made from paper obtained from Forest Stewardship Council certified forests. FSC forests meet the highest of environmental standards and are run by folk who look after their workers and the environment properly. In the world of paper and trees, FSC certification is like getting a gold star in the spelling test, without having to write the hard words on the back of your hand or copy Richard Hogg’s answers.
Easter stuff for small people
Speaking of our kids’ smoothies, we’ve just redone the backs of the little wedges they come in which means from June, there’s going to be a host of new activities and fun stuff to do. However, in case you run out of stuff to keep the kids occupied over this extra long weekend, we thought it might be useful to give you a sneak preview of our new wedges and make a cut-out-and-keep version of all the activities we’ve put on there (especially our magic egg). Perfect for keeping your little ones busy once that post Easter egg sugar rush properly kicks in. Click here for some things to do at easter.
And finally eggstravaganza ...
- One big egg.
- Hunt the egg.
- Peel that egg.
- Egg power.
- What’s in the yellow shed?
1st April 2009
This week’s news is as expertly crafted as the winning entry at the annual ‘Blackcurrants and miniature model ponies dressed as Chewbacca’ haiku poetry slam*. Read on.
The blackcurrants are back
We used to make a smoothie recipe for kids with apples and blackcurrants in it. It was catchily known as ‘apples and blackcurrants’ or, as some small people liked to refer to it, ‘the purple one’. We stopped making it about a year ago and then lots of you called and wrote to ask us very nicely to bring it back. So that’s just what we’ve done. Except it won’t be everywhere at once. Oh no. This comeback isn’t going to be one of those over exposed affairs with lots of second rate toupees. The return of our kids apples & blackcurrants is going to be a gradual trickle trickle, slowly creeping back into your hearts from the start of April and then being firmly entrenched come June time. And unlike all those golden yet slightly dubious 80/90’s band reunions, the blackcurrants are back for good.
A Grown-up Meeting (No. 2)
Last year we held our first ever AGM. Not one of those boring meetings with rubbish biscuits and someone in a suit rattling on about profit engineering. It was more like a get together in a village hall where you find out what's been going on, have a bit of a debate and vote on a few things. Around 100 of our drinkers came along to Fruit Towers last April, did all the aforementioned and had such a brilliant day that we’re going to do it again on Saturday 16th May. We’d love each and every one of you to come along but we don’t have enough chairs or a big enough tea urn for that. So we're asking people to get involved from home as well - voting online, taste testing our smoothies and so on. Which means even if you can’t make it on the day or don’t get picked, you can still be very much part of the day.
If you fancy taking part, then all you need to do is fill in this form by 22nd April and fingers crossed, we'll see you on 16th May.
Win win win
We like howies. They make fine clothes, have sound ethics and have excellent people like Ade working there. This week we like them even more than usual because they’re running a competition where you can win yourself some fancy new gear and get 20% off your first order too. All you need to do to bag yourself the latest fashion from Cardigan Bay’s 2nd biggest clothing company is click here, fill the form and cross your toes.
- Office electronica.
- Tube living?
- Evolution (snail’s pace).
- My Little Pony makeover.
- Sheep surfing goat.
*Blackcurrant tears fall.
My little pony is gone.
O wookie is me.