Its smoothies, juices and waters are currently sold through just 7,000 of those outlets. But Innocent believes it can add at least £50m of new sales by 2012 by reaching the rest of the largely untapped market.
Kevin Jones, the former Nestlé commercial director for wholesale and convenience, has been handed the new role of channel director for impulse and out-of-home, reporting to commercial director Dave Pickup. Jones will oversee a strengthened impulse sales team as well as a new field sales force. The sales drive will be backed by a £2m spend in 2010, including a summer poster campaign.
The new strategy will focus on a core range of eight lines including three smoothies, two This Waters, two orange juices and a kids wedge format. It has cut case sizes from eight units to four and improved supply chain efficiency to increase the 10-day in-store shelf-life to 15 to allay fears of slow sell-through.
"We currently do no business through C&Cs but half the outlets we're targeting only buy from the C&C," said Pickup. "Before Christmas we sent our grassy van to London to see if there was demand for van sales and there was. Those that took Innocent then have decided to stick with it as they found it attracted new shoppers."
From April, the field sales operation will visit thousands of non-stocking outlets, including c-stores and cafes, selling straight from the van or taking orders. It is also in talks with leading C&Cs about stocking the range. Innocent is giving retailers new PoS including window posters and shelf strips, as well as offering £1.49 price-marked-packs and discounts.
While sales of the £120m brand are down year-on-year, Pickup said the latest 12-week data showed total sales up 30% and smoothies up 20% [Nielsen 23 January]. He said Innocent was on track for its target of doubling 2009 sales by 2012.