Innocent distances itself from partner McDonald’s

InnocentInnocent Drinks has rebuffed suggestions from its new commercial partner McDonald’s that there are a number of “parallels” between the two companies.

The rebuke from the ethical smoothie maker comes as it enters into a controversial tie-up with the fast food chain, which is testing one of its smoothies in 80 McDonald’s restaurants in the north of England.

Jill McDonald, senior vice president, chief marketing officer for northern Europe at McDonald’s highlights a number of similarities between the two companies. She says: “We are both open and transparent about sourcing and we both want to make fruit and veg easily accessible to kids.”

Innocent, however, is less keen on such parallels, saying that “fundamentally we have different values”. It adds, however, that it has seen great improvements in terms of McDonald’s transparency and its work with charities in recent years.

The pair, it appears, are also at odds over the smoothie trail. McDonald’s says the fast-food chain “does not trial things unless there is a good chance of success”.

Yet Innocent says “it is only a trial” and says its too early to comment on whether it will be rolled out nationally.

The tie-up has given rise to accusations from Innocent enthusiasts that the company, which markets itself as an ethical company, has sold out to further its commercial interests.

McDonald’s is trialing its strawberry, blackberry and raspberry variants for six months. It will be available in Happy Meals in its outlets across the North East and Yorkshire.

The tie-up comes as Innocent faces pressure from supermarket own-brand smoothies, which are looking to eat into Innocent’s market share.

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