Innocent Smoothies – Not So Innocent

innocent smoothies

I must admit, I don’t normally buy drinks that have sugar in them, not for any health reason – more because I prefer not to drink my calories. But the other day I was in the supermarket and picked up an Innocent Smoothies because it boasted lots of health benefits and looked tasty.

My excitement was short lived though because as I drank my admittedly delicious Innocent Smoothie and read the bottle, I became aware the branding is far from accurate.

In this article I give you four reasons to avoid Innocent Smoothies!

Innocent Smoothies Contain a Shedload of Sugar

The bottle displayed a nice and prominent ‘no added sugar’ caption and for anyone seeking a healthier drink, you might be mistaken into thinking Innocent Smoothies are a good alternative to other sugary drinks.

You will be sadly mistaken as Innocent Smoothies contain a lot of ‘natural sugar’ which means there is no necessity for them to add any further sugar.

A common misconception is natural sugar is good sugar and added sugar is bad sugar. The truth is sugar is sugar. It still contains the same amount of calories, and it will still lead to weight gain. Natural sugar will cause your blood sugar levels to spike in the same way as added sugar.

How much sugar does an Innocent Smoothie contain?

Well, 150ml of the popular Innocent Strawberry and Banana contains 15 grams of sugar. Equivalent to 3.5 teaspoons.

To put that into perspective, that is the same amount of sugar as 150ml of Coca Cola – a drink notorious for its high sugar content.

A 750ml Innocent Smoothie contains more than an adult male’s recommended daily allowance of sugar. Pretty sinful in my opinion.

For a Fruit Based Smoothie – They Lack Fibre

This really caught my eye as my bottle nutritional information was absent of any fibre content and I had to look up online the fibre contained in an Innocent Smoothie.

When you make a smoothie at home using fresh bananas you will typically get between 3 and 4 grams of fibre.

My smoothie had much less – in fact half of the fibre you would expect for that volume of fruit juice.

I don’t really understand how that is possible as Innocent Smoothies claim not to make drinks from concentrates (which strip fibre content). There must be something about the production process that removes fibre, perhaps removing some of the thicker pulp?

Innocent Super Smoothies Contain More Fibre

If you want a sensible amount of fibre in your fruit smoothie, Innocent do make so-called Super Smoothies which have added fibre, normally by adding flax seeds.

However, if you were to make the same smoothie at home using the same ingredients you would have a higher fibre content.

Innocent Smoothies – Bad for the Environment

I don’t mind big corporations having a high carbon footprint. For long term readers of my blog articles, you will realise I love efficiency and sustainability but not at the cost of economic growth and human wellbeing.

I would much rather a world where starvation wasn’t a problem due to low cost and potentially environmentally damaging agriculture than a world where poor people who can’t afford sustainability die so a few rich people can feel better about the environment.

With that said, if a brand markets itself as sustainable and ‘Innocent’ it better damn meet that branding.

Here are some shocking facts about Innocent Smoothies and their environmental record:

  • Currently only 30% of their plastic bottles in the UK are from recycled plastic with heavy reliance on single use or new plastics.
  • Heavy carbon footprint because they ship smoothies all over the place which means lots of diesel lorries on the road.
  • They use a lot of exotic fruits which can’t be sourced locally, further increasing their carbon footprint.

In fact, the Advertising Standards Authority have banned Innocent Smoothies from using any positive statement about how good their environmental impact is – because their environmental impact is appalling.

Make No Mistake, Innocent is Designed to Make a Lot of Profit

Innocent Smoothies harp on about how charitable they are as an organisation, and it is true they donate a lot of their profit to a not-for-profit arm of their own company.

That sounds excellent except the money never really leaves the Innocent Smoothie umbrella and the syphoned profits are almost certainly held in the not-for-profit to avoid taxation.

Some of the money does trickle down to worthy causes, but the amount of money earmarked for charity is increasing and the amount that is being spent by the charitable arm of Innocent Smoothies is negligible.

It is worth noting Innocent Smoothies is 90% owned by the Coca Cola Corporation. You should expect them to behave in exactly the same way as the Coca Cola brand when it comes to generating money and shielding profit from taxes.

I wouldn’t mind if the brand was Coca Cola Smoothies – but it isn’t, it is Innocent. And for good reason, Coca Cola knows no one is going to buy a ‘healthy’ fruit smoothie with Coca Cola on the label.

Final Thoughts on Innocent Smoothies

I love Coca Cola as a company, and I drink Coca Cola Zero daily. I know there are other healthier drink options available with less additives etc, but I am happy knowing the Coca Cola brand doesn’t try to mask their content or market themselves as healthy or environmentally friendly.

Innocent Smoothies on the other hand is a brand that is completely disingenuous, and Coca Cola knows full well what they are doing when they market the brand as a healthy and eco-friendly drink.

That is the fact I really can’t get behind. If you are trying to dupe people, then you should be held accountable. No one pretends Coca Cola is healthy, but most Innocent Smoothie drinkers will guzzle the smoothie thinking they are doing their body a favour.

Innocent Smoothies do taste delicious – but with the amount of sugar they contain, is it any wonder.

Am I wrong with my conclusion? Are Innocent Smoothies a clever marketing ploy by Coca Cola or should they be held to account for their lies? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Jon Logan

Jon Logan is an editorial consultant and author that loves living life without boundaries. Over the past 5 years, his content at Immortal Wordsmith has helped thousands of readers gain new perspectives and discover fascinating stories. Jon holds several professional qualifications and is financially qualified in the UK. He left the humdrum world of financial advice to pursue a career in writing – his lifelong passion. He has partnered with local and global brands to help them grow their businesses and audiences through insightful and innovative content strategy. Jon specialises in creating inspirational and thought-provoking writing that challenges readers to look beyond the confines of “the norm.” He uses dynamic writing styles to convey messages to diverse audiences from all walks of life. He is an avid explorer and loves sharing the world from his perspective with his readers.

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