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I suppose I really ought to explain the title to this one. I live in halls, and while I was away some random man followed someone in, broke into my fridge compartment and stole my Innocent Smoothie. I got a phone call from a friend who told me about this heinous crime. A few days later I was asked "has anyone caught that strange man who stole your innocence?"
Needless to say I was crying with laughter.
Anyway, on with the review!
Innocent are a very special and unique kind of company. They're really just a bunch of lads who quit their jobs because they wanted to do a good thing. According to the plentiful and hilarious information on their website, they bought £500 of fruit and made Smoothie out of it. They then sold it at a music festival with a sign saying "Do you think we should give up our jobs to make these Smoothies". The response was such that the next day they resigned and started making Smoothies.
The first time I had one of their Smoothies was in my hall of residence - one person got someone else hooked on Smoothies, then another person and another and it quickly got out of hand. Now our entire kitchen has at least one carton in their fridge compartment, myself included. I have at least 1 sometimes 2 large cartons, per week! Well, I'd rather be addicted to Smoothie than caffeine or nicotine! (I'm a student; I have to be addicted to something, don't I?)
Innocent themselves are very big on natural products, and looking after the planet. Everything is recyclable and they try their best to do things nicely - for example clean energy. Think of corporate hippies, and you may get an idea!
You may not be aware but, although they are apparently situated at "Fruit Towers" in London, the factory where all the magic happens is in Holland, and from there is shipped all over Europe. I wonder if there's a connection between the Smoothies being made in Holland, and being addictive, but I would never ever make such a suggestion, so I'll tell you about the Smoothies themselves.
Well they're thick, they're colourful and they're just plain yummy. We're told that they contain absolutely nothing other than fruit, and from the taste and texture I'm inclined to believe them. They come in lots of different flavours and colours (natural, of course) and they're addictive. No GM, no preservatives, no E numbers. Just fruit. Finally.
My favourite is Banana and Strawberry, or Mango and Passion fruit. Oh and Raspberry and Cranberry. Simply put, there are lots of flavours, including "guest" (which has cinnamon in it!!) and "seasonal" extras. I have yet to try the others, but I have little doubt that I'll like them. Others include: Blackberry and Blueberries; Orange, Banana and Pineapples; and Pineapples, Bananas and Coconuts (I'm looking forward to this one)
I get the regular Smoothies, because it's the most cost effective for me, but there are others! If you have children, you'll be pleased to hear that there are "Smoothies for Kids" which come in special cartons and have special flavours which children are more likely to like. Plus it makes them feel special, which is always good.
There are also the "Superfoods" which are apparently packed out with vitamins and so forth to make you feel good and healthy. I haven't tried these, as they seem like they're catering to the irritating "Detox" fad that's going around, but what the hell, I'm sure they're lovely.
According to the website there are also "Thickies" but I've never seen these! I feel so left out that there's a whole Innocent range that I've never heard of! I'm going to spend this week hunting for them. These are apparently a kind of milkshake/yoghurt sort of thing!
They also have "juicy waters" which again I've never seen before. They look like a kind of natural fruit squash - something else I think I have to try! I think they're designed to be thirst quenching rather than filling like Smoothies are.
They come in different sizes: big cartons for putting in the fridge at home, and small plastic bottles for when you're on the go. You'll be glad to know that they're all fully recyclable so you won't be hurting our lovely planet (Yes, I realise I'm starting to sound like a hippy).
The best thing about the cartons which I buy are the jokes. Yes, you didn't misread that, I said jokes. Firstly they tell you everything that's in the carton, so 3 apples, 2 bananas, 50 raspberries and 247 cherries, and so forth. Then for some reason there's a picture of a garden gnome with the caption "and we didn't add any of these". That made me laugh!
Also, there are jokes on the bottom of the carton - I won't tell you any since that will ruin it, but please, I beg of you, make sure the cap is on before you try to read it. Stop laughing; it's been done, yes, by me.
I have to break the bad news to you now. They're expensive. It's unfortunate but I understand entirely why it is. They use recyclable packaging, no preservatives, the best fresh ingredients and they have to compete with other companies who don't.
I'm having to deviate from my usual student stinginess when it come to food shopping, and that's because my closest supermarket is Waitrose. A big carton of Smoothie in Waitrose costs £3.29, and in Sainsbury's it's £2.99. This is not cheap, but believe me when I say it's worth it. If your children don't eat actual fruit and you want to get something healthy inside them, then it's worth the cost. Can you put a price on your health?
If you have the opportunity then shop around - I just can't be bothered to walk an extra 15 minutes to Sainsbury's!
I should tell you that after drinking a large glass of the stuff I actually feel better. That's why I spend the money - besides, it actually works out cheaper than buying all the fruit, and it lasts longer too.
There are some things I've noticed that I think you should know:
There's one of those little plastic pull rings inside the cap when you first open it. When you pull it out, hold it as fair away as you can, and aim it away from you - little drips go everywhere and if they're dark red fruits then your clothes will be stained for evermore!
Follow their advice and keep it in the fridge, it tastes better and it will stay fresh for longer. I'd love to know if they're freeze-able, so if anyone can tell me I'd be grateful!
Only buy one at a time - that way when you run out after 2 days you'll be forced to walk back to the supermarket, encouraging the whole healthy lifestyle! Ok that's less helpful, but it's true!
Try every flavour at least once! I'm still working my way through them, but I know that variety is always a good thing!
They make me feel good. I like the fact that I'm pouring something good into my stomach rather than coffee or alcohol (lord knows there's plenty of that!). I like the Innocent philosophy, and the history behind it. It's the kind of company I'd buy shares in not because I think it'll make me rich, but because I agree with what they're doing.
For parents: if you're looking for something healthy that your children will actually enjoy, this is it - if nothing else the carton will keep them entertained for hours!
For students: I know, I know, it's expensive, but just think how much your body loves you when you have a glass! Rather than having that double vodka and red bull tonight (oh it's so bad for you), use the money to buy a Smoothie.
For everyone else: If you haven't got the idea by now, I'm shocked! Innocent are turning me into a bit of a hippy, and that's something I never thought would happen! My advice would be to buy one, the flavour that looks most appealing to you. If you like it, buy another one, and another one!
And besides, it's good enough for me, and it's clearly good enough for the strange man who broke in and stole my Innocence! Try it!
This is one of the most entertaining reviews I've read yet - who ever said consumer feedback couldn't be funny? A carefully crafted, well worded summary that made me want to read to the very end.
I remember the "juicy waters" too - don't know if they're still around or if they've been renamed but that brought back memories, too.
Claiiiree 17.12.2007 21:24
I love their ethics and their drinks
pgn0 01.11.2007 10:45
Superb, well-written, humorous, yada yada yada - here, just take the E, will you? PS. My kids like the jokes on the Innocent Smoothie cartons too, makes it a truly "fun" drink as well as one to which I have absolutely no objection to letting them drink at any time of the day.
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