Smoothies

Fascinating!

I’m not sure if I’ve ever had Innocent’s apple juice before. Might have to try it now!

So the bolt from the blue you worked on! I’m curious how that came about. Presumably it’s the rarer blue spirulina, and not just blue dye that results in the colour. If so, was there a reason that was chosen over the more common green that’s in the green machine?

Where’d you even go to source it? I was looking for blue spirulina to make a fruity blue froyo last summer, but of the ones I could find when I did my research they all seem to come out of China, in potentially polluted and contaminated water sources.

What’s the process like for concocting a new type of smoothie?

What other drinks have you worked on?

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Yes it is, it’s in the ingredients!

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This sounds like fuel for iPhones.

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So the theory goes that in fresh and chilled food categories, consumers are hyper motivated by colour. Brighter, more vibrant colours give freshness cues, and it’s even better when you can see the colour inside the bottle (think a plain carton of juice vs a bottle where you can see this bits).

Plus you have a “shopper category” / commercial piece where we, as a business, want Tesco/Sainsbury/Whatever, to give us more shelf space than a competitor - a good way to do that is through a differentiated range - so having more options available - and doing it in a way where it helps make additional sales in the Juice aisle. Or rather, provide incremental sales, with limited cannibalisation.

So we landed on the concept of colour differentiation to do that. That’s part of why 16 juices exist - a rainbow to shop from as it were.

But colour alone isn’t enough; there needed to be “added value” to the category. And in part thats through addition of vitamins + botanicals (making it part of a “functional drinks” category that retailers love right now). An important part of that was doing the Blue in a functional / beneficial way; so picking Blue Spirulina rather than just a food colour for example.

(And the goal also was to do something far different to what was available already in the market)

So interestingly we did launch a green recipe long before the Blue one - albeit using Matcha not Spirulina - but part of that choice was differntiation really. We already had Green so didn’t need to replicate it, so the target was Blue and finding relevant Blue botanicals.

That I probably can’t reveal but it’s primarily through partnering with ingredients suppliers who specialise in botanical type ingredients - who manage the full sourcing of including the safety and sustainability in a vertically integrated set up.

Long and ardous, but most often starts with a consumer need state. What gap is trying to be filled in the market, and why does this drink do it. It could be as basic as “people are bored of Strawberry Banana” fair because bananas are gross, to “we want to have a seasonal flavour” all the way through to “there’s this specific nutritional niche that makes sense for us to fill” type topics.

From that point it’s working out the constraints; price, size, location, shelf life, claims, must have ingredients, must not have etc. And working backwards from that - from there it’s a bunch of clever people mixing things in a smoothie lab with some high tech blenders and lots of tastings. But starting with the end goal first.

So I worked (/work) in the supply chain - so not the actual recipe part of the smoothie but making sure it gets from A to B. innocent have recently opened a brand new carbon neutral factory in Rotterdam - I worked on that for a bit. They don’t talk about it enough but it’s genuinely amazing.

Sorry that got long

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Don’t apologise! I find that all fascinating! Learning lots of new things from this, which is great!

You don’t expect to sign up to a banking forum and wind up learning the ins and outs of the smoothie industry, but that’s the Monzo community for ya, and I absolutely love it!

If colour was a marketing thing, then I have to say it was a very effective choice! It’s probably the only reason I ever tried it in the first place.

I’m honestly here for that sort of trend. Yfood do exactly and I find it’s very effective at
A. Keeping me engaged as a customer
B. Opening me up to trying new flavours
C. Is an outlet for experimenting and maybe find something really special.

Only downside is when there’s a really good one and it goes away, you miss it to the point going back to your usuals is a bit of a downer.

Ooo! First I’ve heard of it! They definitely should talk about that.

I’m curious, if you know, how they achieved carbon neutrality?

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So I don’t know all the ins and outs as a lot of it is above my engineering skills, but part of the goal was to avoid the greenwashing style of carbon neutral-ness and do genuine things to improve.

Some of these are also less carbon-neutrally and more reduce waste type things which contribute, but the list includes;

  • Massive solar panel farm.
  • 1 or 2 wind turbines (I think still waiting approval from the Rotterdam planning permission lot)
  • Heat Pumps that use the energy from heat used for boilers to transfer to other parts of the factory (I think there was some tech that captured heat to help use to power chillers in the fridge but I’m not 100% on the details) [edit; wrong way round, heat from chillers used to heat things that needed heating]
  • Generally modern efficient kit anyway
  • Electric vehicles for moving juice around (+ charging stations)
  • Clever waterless pump/vacuum systems to reduce the amount of water used to clean by 90% - rather than wash juice residues off by water it would use a high power vacuum to get the major debris off
  • And broadly location choices too - Rotterdam is where the bulk of ingredients would be first delivered by sea freight - so it takes countless unneeded journeys off the road by locating it where the ingredients come in.
  • Plus all things people, hiring, benefits, culture etc - all part of the sustainable build approach (but less CO2 more human sustainability)

Not to say it’s perfect mind, but it’s a good start and certainly a place where a lot of the emissions can be controlled. Tis difficult doing sustainability well regardless as no matter what you do, there will be choices that aren’t always eco conscious but its a good step imo.

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Thank you!

That’s exactly the sort of approach to carbon neutrality I was hoping for so really pleased to see that’s the case!

Definitely something to be shouting about IMO!

Truly fascinating stuff, thanks for sharing it all!

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This is a nice smoothie. Not my favourite I’ve ever had, but probably top 5.

I’ll be trying the Innocent Apple Juice next.

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Couldn’t help myself

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This is such an aspirational post - smoothie, comfy looking chair & tidy bookshelf all in shot!

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Funnily enough no one ever sits there. :joy:

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Is everything in the background just for show! Did you plan this photo :thinking:

I walked out of my kitchen, which is where the bookshelf and chair is, then took a photo. If I was staging a photo I’d have put something more expensive than books in the background lol.

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Like a MacBook Air? :wink:

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That’s actually waiting for my friend to pick up as he bought it off me when I upgraded to the M2 15”. :joy:

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Decided to try Innocent’s Inner Winner (the bright pink one) today (also got Innocent Apple Juice in the fridge for tomorrow).

It’s quite nice. A bit tangy at first and a weird aftertaste, but my tastebuds adjusted. Not going to be a favourite though. I like the blue too much from the Plus range, but the plus range is definitely their most interesting range IMO.

Wonder green (to see how it compares to Naked’s
Green machine) is next on my list I think. Kinda wanna try the purple one too. Also need to explore more of Naked’s range.

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I have to say, Innocent’s Apple Juice was an incredibly pleasant surprise. That tastes really rather good. By far the best apple juice I’ve ever had.

I was apprehensive because I’ve never been particularly fond of apple juice, so I wasn’t expecting to like it. But this is a very nice juice. Will for sure be buying more of this.

Props to their master apple juicer.

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I’ll have to give this a go, we are quite the apple juice fiends at our house, especially cordial.

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Today’s smoothie of choice.

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My favourite! :yum:

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