Food & Drink

Smoothie lovers rejoice, for Innocent smoothies will be launching in Japan this July

by Oscar Boyd

STAFF WRITER

If there’s one thing I’ve missed since moving from the U.K. to Japan, it’s the taste of a good smoothie. So it was with an ecstatic yelp that I saw the news that Innocent will be launching a range of smoothies in Japan on Jul. 9, 2019.

Initially the smoothies will be released in three flavors: Omajime Strawberry, described as an exquisite blend of sweetness and acidity; Yangotonaki Mango, a mixture of Alphonso mango and passionfruit; and Gorgeous Green, a combination of apples (yes), pears (yes) and kale (less keen).

Innocent was founded in the U.K. in 1999 by three graduates of the University of Cambridge — Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright — and has since become Europe’s largest smoothie manufacturer.

Legend has it that after spending six months working on smoothie recipes, the trio sold their drinks at a London music festival. Customers were asked to put their empty bottles in different trash cans depending on whether they thought the three should quit their jobs to make smoothies. At the end of the festival the “yes” trash can was full, with only three cups in the “no” trash can.

The range of Japan-made smoothies will be the first time the company has made and sold its smoothies outside of Europe.

According to Aiko Kato, the marketing “projuicer” at Innocent Japan, Japan was chosen for the company’s first international foray due to its undefined smoothie market and sophisticated supply chains that allow for delivery of chilled drinks across the country.

Kato also says that Innocent’s mission is “to help people live well and die old, by becoming the Earth’s favorite little healthy drinks company.” Kato believes that Innocent has a role to play in supporting Japan’s aging society by helping people stay healthy for longer.

Though I’m not sure the sugar content lives up to that claim (a U.K. bottle of strawberry and banana-flavored Innocent smoothie contains 26 grams of sugar per 250 millimeters), it’ll certainly help ease the passing of Tokyo’s boiling summer if there’s a few easily accessible smoothies to hand.

Each 235 milliliter bottle will be sold for ¥298. The drink will initially only be sold in some convenience chains and some hotels, restaurants and cafes in Tokyo’s Chiyoda, Minato, Shibuya and Chuo wards.

The price is a little bracing when you compare it to the shelf price of Innocent smoothies in the U.K. (it costs about double here), but it’s not unreasonable considering the supermarket price of fruit here. That being said, the smoothies will use the same ingredients as those sold in the U.K., and the fruit is sourced from around the world, before being bottled in Japan.

Innocent plans to expand to the greater Tokyo area by September, covering Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures and hopes for a nationwide presence after April 2020.