Innocent Drinks

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Case study Innocent Drinks Ltd.

Steve Johnson
With CIMA, I was able to go into a business, fully understand it and get the most out of it. Innocent’s three founders gave up their jobs over five years ago and started making Innocent smoothies. The idea was to make it easy for people to do themselves some good. And to make it taste nice too. The drinks were called Innocent because they are always completely pure, fresh and unadulterated. In the summer of 1998, when they had developed their first smoothie recipes but were still nervous about giving up their proper jobs, they bought £500 worth of fruit, turned it into smoothies and sold them from a stall at a little music festival in London. They put up a big sign saying ‘Do you think we should give up our jobs to make these smoothies?’ and put out a bin saying ‘YES’ and a bin saying ‘NO’ and asked people to put the empty bottle in the right bin. At the end of the weekend the ‘YES’ bin was full so they went in the next day and resigned. Innocent now employs nearly 200 people at their headquarters in London and has 26 recipes on sale and an annual turnover of £100 million. Over two million smoothies are sold every week to over 7,000 retailers across the UK and abroad. Steve Johnson Steve’s job is commercial accountant at Innocent, and he’s worked for the company for two years. ‘I want to understand what makes a business successful, and sticking around for a while helps you do that. And I’m definitely in the right place to find out.’ Steve didn’t study a finance-based subject at university. His degree is in European Studies – French, history and Portuguese – from Nottingham University. At A-level he completed maths, history and French, and he liked the mix of numbers, writing essays and languages. However, when it came to degree level, he found it frustrating that he couldn’t continue that mix of different subjects and that he had to focus on one subject. So choosing to cover language and history at university, he...
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