Boycott the Guilty Innocent: A Smoothie Coke Operator

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They were different, silly comments on the bottles, they were rare, then were all over the place and now they are in the pocket of the Evil Empire (also known as the Coca-Cola Company, the ones with the Nazi connections).

The Guardian recently reported that:

“The founders of Innocent, the ethically aware smoothie business that yesterday sold a stake of between 10% and 20% to the US drinks group Coca-Cola for £30m, are adamant that their ideals and eco-friendly sentiments will not be crushed as a result of striking a deal with a company best known for its less than healthy fizzy drinks.”

So they are not only greedy buggers, but rather ignorant, too, or think that the conscientious consumers, upon whom the lads have built their fortune, are completely ignorant: who, in their right minds, would think they were buying a nice, ethical drink, if the money goes to Coca-Cola?

For what it is worth, then, boycott (the very guilty) Innocent!


More from the India Resource Center:

“Innocent No Longer So Innocent

For Immediate Release
April 7, 2009

Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +1 415 336 7584

San Francisco (April 7, 2009): Innocent – a UK based beverage company known for its ethical practices and providing natural and healthy beverages – has sold out.

The Coca-Cola company is buying a £30 million stake in Innocent, representing between a ten to twenty percent share of Innocent.

According to Innocent founders, the deal with Coca-Cola allows the company to expand its markets further into Europe.

For the Coca-Cola company, no doubt, the deal goes a long way in its efforts to manufacture an image of itself that it clearly is not – a green, ethical company that sells natural and healthy products.

Innocent’s sell out comes close to a year after Coca-Cola purchased a forty percent stake in the US based organic beverage company, Honest Tea, in February 2008 in a deal estimated at about $43 million.

“From a public relations perspective, it is a brilliant move on the part of the Coca-Cola company to acquire interests in Innocent and Honest Tea, two companies known for their ethical and socially responsible practices, and brand names that marketing professionals could only dream of,” said Amit Srivastava of the International Campaign Against Coca-Cola.

“But innocent, honesty, healthy, ethical and green are hardly the words that come to mind when describing Coca-Cola’s practices around the world,” he continued. “In fact, it is quite the opposite, and exactly the reason why Coca-Cola is seeking relationships with such innocent and honest sounding brand names. It is a good marketing move because it is deceptive.”

The Coca-Cola company has been under fire for its practices in India, where communities living around its bottling plants are facing severe water shortages as a result of the company’s operations. Two bottling plants have been shut down and a study financed by Coca-Cola itself has recommended that the company shut down another plant because it denies people their fundamental human right – access to water.

Coca-Cola has largely ignored the recommendations of the study it paid for in India. Instead, the company has embarked upon an ambitious public relations exercise in India, with absurd taglines like “Little Drops of Joy.”

In industrialized countries, Coca-Cola has been under fire for contributing significantly to the obesity epidemic, particularly among children, as it peddles its unhealthy, sugar laden products.

California, for example, has banned the sale of unhealthy soft drinks in its schools and so has the UK, and numerous other countries and states are following suit.

Indeed, the Coca-Cola company is experiencing loss of sales and revenues in the industrialized countries, particularly the US, as consumers wisen up to the negative health impacts of Coca-Cola products.

In a report released last week, Coca-Cola soft drinks volume in the US fell 3.1% in 2008, and soft drinks volume fell 6% in the last four years – a trend confirming rejection of unhealthy beverages.

Campaigns from India challenging Coca-Cola’s mismanagement of water and the growing health concerns with the company’s products have tarnished Coca-Cola’s image considerably.

In response to the growing image problem, the Coca-Cola company has ramped up its public relations efforts to position itself as a green and ethical company that is on the forefront of health and nutrition.

Coca-Cola’s stake in Innocent and Honest Tea is part of this strategy.

To respond to the growing rejection of its products for health reasons in industrialized countries, the company has embarked upon an aggressive strategy to find new consumers in emerging economies of India and China. It makes no difference to Coca-Cola that if high sugar products are detrimental to the health of consumers in the west, they also must be detrimental to people in developing countries.

Is Coca-Cola innocent and honest? Hardly.

They continue to peddle unhealthy products knowing very well that they are unhealthy. And they continue to deprive communities in India of water, choosing to use their public relations might instead of actually fixing the problems they have created.

Sadly, with Coca-Cola’s acquisition, Innocent is no longer innocent.

For more information, visit


FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. India Resource Center is making this article available in our efforts to advance the understanding of corporate accountability, human rights, labor rights, social and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.”

3 thoughts on “Boycott the Guilty Innocent: A Smoothie Coke Operator

    z said:
    Monday, April 13, 2009 at 14:29 (645)
    Anthony said:
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 18:11 (799)

    I actually was starting to catch onto the Innocent smoothies bandwagon. I liked their brand personality and the aura of honesty you get looking at their packaging and their website especially! They werent like other drinks companies that are shrowded in business suits and a huge headquarters. Instead, Innocent seemed like the type of business where the employees strolled in and sat around in tracksuits all day coming up with new ideas. For thatr easonI lvoe buying their products!

    I never actually knew Coca-Cola had bought a share in their company, and I’ve heard plenty of Coca-Cola that has turned my stomach! I’m now seriously considering withdrawing my interest and pocketmoney from Innocent drinks altogether.

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