The Innocent Burger Debate

by Organikal on June 13, 2007

Cart_straw_black_raspDid you hear about the big furore? Innocent announced back in May that it was going to trial the distribution of Innocent smoothies for kids in some of the evil McDonald’s fast food outlets! We heard it on Radio 4 whilst eating our dinner one night (we don’t often listen to the radio while we’re eating, but sometimes I forget to switch it off).

It seems the announcement has caused a bit of a stooshie as we say here in Scotland. I put down my eating implements, and made everyone hush up as we sat there mouths agape at the news.

Was it Co-founder Rich that was interviewed? I can’t remember, but the official take from Innocent was that they weren’t abandoning all sense. They weren’t “selling-out”  and they had thought about it all very seriously. After weighing up their options, they felt that giving some kids the opportunity to choose an Innocent drink whilst in an otherwise unhealthy food environment was a good thing. Anyone to argue otherwise was perhaps putting their principles in the same place as they put their nose to spite their face.

We left the country shortly after the announcement and I haven’t given it much thought since. Until I visited their blog today. I like the Innocent blog. Heck, I like the whole company. We drink the Innocent drinks. We even buy them from Starbucks, or Costa – depending on where we are (the airport and service station Costas often lure us from our home-made efforts). I even buy them from the —— supermarket! I know I don’t hold with shopping at the supermarket. I think they are ALL evil. But sometimes I have to buy stuff I can’t get anywhere else. Correction. Sometimes I choose to buy stuff from there that I can’t easily find an alternative source for when I want/need to.

You see – therein lies the problem…we live in a suburban area. We have to drive at least 20 minutes to reach a farmers market. Most farmers markets sell luxury food items. Smoked salmon, beautiful cheese. I can’t feed my family luxury items every day. There is a corner shop. It sells newspapers, fizzy juice and tinned food. Sometimes there are some manky bananas and an onion or two. I can get my organic food delivered once a week. Sometimes I like to be spontaneous. Sometimes, I simply have no time to organise a delivery when I’m away on business. Distribution channels are limited. For the consumer and the supplier. The supermarket is where it’s at.  And unfortunately, so is the fast food chain in the high street.

I don’t like it. I want it to change. I think the only way it stands a chance of changing is if companies like Innocent take a stand and try to change the distribution channels. Reinvent the market. Amazon did it for books. Innocent could do it for smoothies.

Organikal child is fussy about fruit and veg. He’ll eat raw carrots til they come out his ears and herbs and leaves – spinach works well, but the only *actual* fruit I can get him to eat is apple.  Peeled and sliced. Everything else has to be disguised. As a  drink. So we make banana smoothies at home with soya milk. We do a variation with blueberries. And raspberries (tho he likes it better if we sieve out the seeds!). The trouble with home made fruit drinks is that they don’t last long, aren’t as portable as a ready bought carton, and the fruit costs loads! So it’s great that he’ll happily slurp an Innocent smoothie at school break.

If Innocent are keen to introduce more kids to healthy drinking, then forget McDonald’s. Get the schools to take a carton for every child every day. Organikal child’s school as a fruit tuck shop. I bet more kids would buy an Innocent over a boring old apple any day!!

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