Innovate or Evaporate

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Innovate or Evaporate

Innovate or Evaporate
September 18
14:50 2017

‘Innovate or Evaporate’ was the stark message from Tim Casey (pictured above), Country Manager at Innocent Drinks, when speaking at the 4th National Food & Drink Business Conference and Exhibition held recently in Dublin. “If you stand still, you go backwards,” he said before outlining how Innocent Drinks, which was founded by three friends eighteen years ago, has developed into the fastest growing soft drinks brand in Europe. “Innovation was key to getting there, but the original principles of the business still hold true,” he pointed out.

Having worked with Innocent Drinks since 2010, Tim Casey has played a key part in successfully developing the brand to become the number one chilled juice brand in the Irish marketplace.

Innocent Drinks was established with a clear purpose, vision and set of values. Its stated purpose was ‘to make natural, delicious food and drink that helps people live well and die old’. The vision of the founders was to be ‘the earth’s favourite little healthy food and drink company’. The values, which have been firmly embedded in the business ethos, are to be natural, entrepreneurial, responsible, commercial and generous.

“This is very important to us as a business and we reflect that in our products and on our labels,” he remarked. Despite its meteoric rise, Innocent Drinks is still influenced by the original ideals of the company’s founders. For example, the core values are used as a guide when hiring new staff.

Innocent Drinks remains entrepreneurial. Members of staff are encouraged to be innovative and to develop new ideas. However, these should be kept simple enough for ‘your granny to understand’.

In line with its commitment to be generous, Innocent Drinks donates 10% of its annual profits to charity, to causes such as emergency hunger relief, tackling local food poverty and seed funding for business. This aspect of its business model is displayed on the labels of its products for consumers to see.

Indeed, Innocent Drinks maintains close contact with its consumers, encouraging them to correspond with the company and ensuring prompt replies. “It allows us to have great conversations,” he remarked. This helps to foster strong consumer loyalty to the brand.

Through innovation in both product and packaging, Innocent Drinks has successfully expanded its portfolio and geographical reach. Innocent Drinks has grown by successfully innovating across categories. For example, it recently entered the rapidly growing coconut water category.

Although primarily a European-focused company, Innocent Drinks is starting to look further afield and has started selling its drinks in Moscow.

“Past performance is no indication of future performance,” he cautioned. “Even if your business is growing, you still need to innovate.” However, he stressed the importance of maintaining the original purpose, vision and values of the business.

In concluding his presentation, Tim Casey gave encouragement to would-be entrepreneurs: “If you dream it, you can do it. You might not do it in year one but you can achieve it. At no stage did the founders think they would not be successful. But do the right things.”

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