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Thoughts from April 2009

egg time

As it's Easter this weekend, we thought you might want some stuff to do in case it rains or eating your way through a warrenful of chocolate shaped rabbits becomes a chore.

Eggy egg

So here's a sneak preview of our brand new kids packaging with lots of fun stuff to keep the kids occupied this extra long weekend (especially when the post Easter egg sugar rush kicks in).

Happy Easter.

innocent and investment

You may have seen in today's papers or on the telly that Coca-Cola have taken a minority stake in innocent. There’s a letter from the founders explaining the nature of the deal on the front page of our website (we put it there yesterday as lots more people visit our site than the blog – if you’ve time it may be worth checking it out)

The background to this deal is that we’re ten years into a thirty year journey towards what we want innocent to become. Our vision is for innocent to grow into a global, natural, healthy food and drinks company – one that makes stuff which is good for people, uses ‘lighter footprint’ ingredients, packaging and production techniques, and which supports charities in the countries where our fruit comes from. In terms of our international expansion, it’s a big goal, and to get there we're going to need a bit of help.

That's where the deal with Coke comes in. They've invested £30M for a stake of between 10% and 20%. We spoke to plenty of potential investors before we made a decision (over fifteen), and you'd be surprised how many wanted to tell us what to do and to run innocent themselves, rather than allowing us to carry on doing what we do.

And that's why we chose Coke – because of all the people we spoke to, they were the ones who guaranteed a hands-off approach; an approach that means that we continue to run innocent our way. We will continue to make the decisions, just as we always have done. Adam, Jon and Richard, the three founders, will continue to lead the business. Coke have placed no restrictions on what we can and cannot do. But we can ask for their advice and help from time to time, which we think will be useful. They may even at some point be able to help distribute our products, but it’s early days so we’ll have to see.

The investment means we now have the funds to do what we’re here to do; get more healthy stuff to more people and places across Europe and beyond. And, let’s face it, times are pretty hard economically speaking, and this investment gives us the added stability to weather the tough headwinds most businesses are facing.

If you've ever started your own business, you'll be able to appreciate that innocent is much more to us than the place where we work. And we know people will believe us when we say that we thought more about this decision than any other in our history. We know some people will always disagree and we will respect that, but we know this deal is a great opportunity for innocent and will allow us to do what we’re here to do – get more healthy products to more people.

We know you have thoughts and comments so feel free to post them. But please keep all comments clean and free of abuse – this is a family show i.e. kids read this blog too.

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A short note - there have been lots of comments on this post, but the navigation to see subsequent pages of comments is a little hidden, due to the standard blog design. You'll find a small set of double arrows like this '>>' at the bottom of the page, above the "Post a comment' box. Click it to see subsequent comments.

reece's tadpole tips

Reece

You might remember Reece from such thrilling posts as Reece who likes to drink 10 smoothies a day and then run barefoot through the park or Reece who hoists his chillis high and waters them in the dead of night.

Babies1

Well, Reece and Mrs. Reece are currently nurturing their own family in preparation a summer free of slugs, bad bugs and other garden nuisances.

Babies2

Reece's tadpole husbandry tips:

  • The best thing to feed frogspawn is chopped lettuce. They like that. A lot.

  • Once they're a bit bigger, you need to switch to chopped liver or they'll start eating each other.

  • Jam jars are rustic but restrictive. Pop your 'poles in the pond first chance you get.

That way, when they finally turn into frogs, they'll look after your garden a treat and gorge themselves daft on those pesky mealy bugs who've been merrily feasting on your prize agapanthus.

wildman

About a year ago, we told you about Richard 'Wildman' Wildman, our IT systems guru, who as was famed within these grassy halls for impromptu singing and directing the first ever innocent pantomime as he was for pretending to be a biscuit inventor on nights out.

Wildman

At the start of 2008, Richard was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and in typical Wildman style, decided to tackle it head on by penning his own excellent blog and creating an alter ego called Chemoman - a super hero fighting cancer.

Very sadly, Richard lost his battle with cancer just before Christmas. As you can see, it's taken us a while to want to talk about it here on our blog.

However, we ourselves have been just as inspired by Richard's wife Sam as we were by the great man himself. She's continuing to write his blog and has set up a charity to help keep Chemoman going and another to help support Lymphoma research.

We questioned whether posting this on our blog was the right thing to do (as we did last year when we initally posted about Richard). But Sam and her family wanted us to let our innocent blog readers know what was going on. So that's what we've done. Please do go and take a look at Rich's blog and post a few comments of support if you have a moment.

And next time you're out on the town, pretend to be a biscuit inventor, in honour of our dearly loved and much missed friend.

fancy coming to our 2009 innocent AGM?

AGM_header

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Some of you may remember that last year we held our first ever innocent AGM and invited a group of innocent drinkers to Fruit Towers for the day. They all got to taste new drinks, vote on stuff, let us know what they thought about specific subjects to do with our drinks and put any question they liked to Rich, Jon and Adam face to face. And drink a few smoothies and eat a bit of cake of course.

Well, it went so well last year that we're going to do it all again this year on May 16th here at Fruit Towers. If you fancy coming along and getting involved then the first thing you need to do is register your AGM 2009 application here.

More AGM 2009 updates to come.