Innocent prioritises ‘thoughtful innovation’ as it launches juice shots

After an analysis of emerging sectors and shifting consumer trends, Innocent is branching out into juice shots as it looks to bring some flavour to a burgeoning category.

Innocent Shots
The Innocent range of juice shots.

From smoothies to sparkling juice and dairy free milks, Innocent has been steadily extending its product portfolio over the past couple of years.

The next phase of product development sees the launch of shots, a range of three flavours of juice combining fruit, vegetables and vitamins.

The shots range has been developed in response to the rise of on-the-go consumption, combined with the growing interest among consumers to understand the health benefits of their food. The products were created prior to the onset of coronavirus crisis, which has already forced 55% of UK marketers to pause product or service launches, according to exclusive research conducted by Marketing Week and its sister title Econsultancy.

Head of innovation, Joe Spence, explains that Innocent has always been focused on “thoughtful innovation”, based on spotting new trends and bringing products to market that meet real consumer needs.

“There’s always got to be a genuine consumer need and I think that is what Innocent has done well since the very beginning and we’ll continue to do that,” he states.

Based on the success of Innocent Plus, a range of juices with added ingredients such as spirulina extract and liquorice infusion launched last summer, the team could see the value of extending the brand’s portfolio. While shots are currently a small but growing category, Innocent can see a gap for “punchy flavour” in the sector.

Innocent Shots
The Ginger Kick juice shot.

“The nature of the category at the moment is that a lot of the products out there feel like they’re doing you some good, but we thought we could bring more taste to the category,” Spence explains.

“It all comes down to a brilliant insight. Whether it’s about energising, something for your mind or having a bit of a top up, all three of those need states are what people are after at the moment. They’re all looking to do themselves a little bit of good.”

The range launched with three products – Power Sour (grape, raspberry and acerola), Ginger Kick (turmeric, apple and carrot) and Blazing Greens (jalapeño, matcha, apple and cucumber) – on 30 March in selected Boots stores which remain open and will hit shelves elsewhere on 11 May.

The new rules of innovation

“If you look at what shots are doing for the juice category, there is some exciting growth there,” says Spence. “We look to grow categories wherever we can and we think juice shots is a really exciting area to be in.”

Design first

When designing the new packaging, Innocent insisted that sustainability was put at the heart the process. Working with brand design agency Uniform, the team created a bespoke design for the shot bottles that was fully recyclable, thereby attempting to tackle the issue of plastic waste which has blighted the drinks sector.

From a product design perspective, Innocent also had to take into account the fact that it was working with a different kind of bottle shape and smaller surface area.

Innocent Shots
The Blazing Greens juice shot.

“When you’re designing for shots it’s different to designing for a traditional juice or smoothie. You’ve got a lot less space, so you’re trying to create real standout in a very small area,” Spence explains.

“You’ve got to be really ruthless in what you prioritise on your front of pack, while also making it standout and bring all that wonderful Innocent personality through.”

The next phase of innovation will be based on the strength of consumer insights and identifying unmet needs, Spence adds. The success of the shots launch will ultimately come down to drinkers’ reactions.

“We want as many people to pick up our products and enjoy them, and if people come back and enjoy them again that’s a real marker of success, because it shows they enjoyed them the first time around,” he says.

“We’re looking to bring Innocent into new products and categories, and bring all our wonderful taste and personality into those categories. If people are picking them up that’s success for us.”