If Britney Spears has taught us anything it's that innocence can all too easily be corrupted when there's money to be made.

And so it is that Innocent, the flagbearer of socially conscious brands, has finally sold a majority stake to Coca-Cola.

From a hard-nosed business perspective, the deal makes perfect sense. Scale is all-important in fmcg and if Innocent really wants to establish its fruit mush beyond these shores it needs access to the extensive distribution network of a multinational.

For those who bought into the Innocent ethos, however, the arrangement is less palatable. Sure, Innocent's founders claim they will maintain complete control of the brand but Coke did not become the global behemoth it is today by standing idly by while brands such as Glacéau continued to plough a lone furrow after acquisition.

Richard Reed & co may cite the example of Cadbury - which has been given the green light by Kraft to create a chain of branded cafés - but it's likely to be no more than a token gesture of autonomy before Kraft tightens the reins.

Innocent may remain altruistic post-Coke, but its purity may have been lost forever.

Read more
Coca-Cola ups Innocent stake to 58% (9 April 2010)
Coca-Cola takes £30m stake in Innocent (6 April 2009)