After years of waiting for the right moment, Innocent is finally introducing its first straight orange juice to compete with Tropicana and Minute Maid.

The smoothie company claims that its new Innocent Orange Juice, available with or without bits, is unique in that it is a drink made from both freshly squeezed and not-from-concentrate (NFC) juice. 

It would retail for £1.89, 20p more than the Tropicana equivalent, commercial director Giles Brooks told The Grocer.

“We’ve been considering launching an orange juice for some time but wanted to wait for the right opportunity – no one else is blending NFC and freshly squeezed so we felt the opportunity was there,” said Brooks. “It has already been welcomed by retailers who are excited by the concept and surprised that it only costs £1.89.”

Brooks denied the company was hoping to steal share directly from more established brands in the sector, however. “Unless we can incrementally grow the orange juice category as a whole, the launch won’t be worth it,” he said. 

The company is expecting the new juice to achieve £10m in sales in its first year but said smoothies still remained the core part of its business.

“Smoothies play a specific role to consumers, as they are both a beverage and a snack replacement but when people want a refreshing drink they don’t necessarily reach for a smoothie and that’s where juice comes in,” Brooks said.

Next week’s launch of Innocent Orange Juice will be supported with trial price promotions in the major retailers but there is no further marketing support planned as yet.

The chilled juices category grew by 4% last year according to IRI figures, 52 w/e 26 June.