Case study: Innocent were commended at 2006 Marketing society awards for their Brand Extension entry
Innocent smoothies for kids were launched in March 2005 in a climate of increasing concern about what our children are eating and drinking.
Since we launched the company six years ago, innocent has been all about making absolutely natural, unadulterated fruit drinks. When we researched the children’s market, we realised there just wasn’t a truly natural option for parents and saw the opportunity to create a unique offering for kids, based on innocent’s core attributes.
As a result we have developed the most natural fruit drinks on the market for children. Innocent smoothies for kids are made from 100% crushed fruit and pure juice, and absolutely nothing else. Each serving gives kids a full portion of fruit and 100% RDA of vitamin C.
Every step of the way in the creation of this range we’ve brought children and their parents to Fruit Towers to try the recipes, look at our packaging and help us make something that is truly relevant and appealing.
As a result of us listening to our consumers, the range is the only product of its kind in the chilled juice fixture and has created a category in its own right by recognising the specific needs of children and their parents.
Six months in, feedback from kids, parents, press, industry experts and retailers has been phenomenal. Together we all share a vision to make our nation’s children healthier.
How it all happened
A - The need for healthy kids drinks
The last 18 months has seen an increased interest awareness kids’ nutrition generated by Jamie Oliver’s ‘Feed me Better’ campaign, and subsequent press coverage focusing on children’s diets.
This resulted in:
Growing concern from parents and schools
Concern from the government
Extensive media coverage
… and concern from us
So we put out heads together and thought about what we could do to make kids’ diets healthier…
B - Thorough research
We were anxious to see what we could to try to do our bit to help kerb and reverse this worrying trend.
First, we looked at what our competitors were up to? Were all fruit-based drinks riddled with ‘nasties’?
Finding a solution
If we applied the same attributes from our adult range to a kids offering, we had something truly unique to offer in the market
Having established a clear need for healthy kids drink, we identified some key criteria for success in this space:
• Great taste
• Clean ingredient list
• Appeal to both parents and kids
• Packaging to engage and excite kids
How we did it
We spent a lot of time with children and their parents to make sure we understood them. A series of focus groups with local schools showed that:
Kids and parents like familiar recipes - they are willing to go beyond plain OJ but not ready for beetroot*
Kids only like sweet drinks - We ruled out grapefruit juice at an early stage
Most kids don’t like bits - It makes them pull strange faces
Parents and kids are suspicious of all manufactured drinks - they are very nutritionally aware
We then went back to our kitchen and got to work.
Every recipe was carefully researched on sound and taste with panels of kids and parents, with a broad selection of potential recipes. Oranges, mangoes & passion fruits was top of the class.
The launching kids – effective use of marketing resources
The launch took place in three stages
1. Communication with media – we visited publishing house with our new drinks, to encourage trial. As a result, we’ve had a continually strong coverage since the drinks were launched in March
2. The website
3. It’s mainly through our award nominated Kids website that we have engaged and listened to kids; we want to make sure that our drinks are constantly talked about in the playground.
What the media says
Innocent has ditched the dreaded ‘bits’ in their new kids’ smoothies, leaving just the pure fruit juice
The Jamie Oliver seal of approval
When Jamie launched his ‘Feed Me Better’ campaign, he sent out a special pack to 7,500 teachers during the summer term. We were pretty chuffed (ok, very chuffed) to be the only food/drink brand allowed in the pack – we included our innocent 5-day wallchart.
The ‘Feed Me Better’ campaign has led to a flurry of teachers contacting us, asking us how they can stock our smoothies for kids, and if we can support them in their school “smoothie weeks”.
“I am really interested in your smoothies for kids I saw in Jamie Oliver’s pack. WE have a healthy week planned for the children 20/21/22 and it would be fantastic if you could support us. Everything you do is brilliant.”
Results in a nutshell
- The kids range has gone from £0 to being a £4M incremental revenue stream for the business in year one, with massive potential going forward
- The range has received wide industry and press acclaim, including a Gold Great Taste Award
- Since launch in March 05 innocent smoothies for kids are flying off the shelves in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Starbucks and trialling in selected schools nationwide
- We are now selling over a quarter of a million wedges each week
- Forecasts for next year show kids growing to over £8M
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