Innocent drone shot

The Blender is a key art of Innocent’s ambitions to reduce its emissions by 50% a litre by 2030

Losses at Innocent have ballooned to almost £50m in one of its “most challenging years” to date, featuring stiff competition from own label, soaring costs and production issues at its new £200m factory.

Revenues declined by £15.6m – a 3.5% fall year on year – to £426.2m in the 12 months ended 31 December 2022, according to newly filed accounts.

The group, which is owned by drinks giant Coca-Cola, was hit by “very large” increases in commodity prices, energy, logistic and packaging, while also needing to continue heavily investing in the new facility in Rotterdam, known as the ‘The Blender’.

The all-electric factory is capable of being fully run by renewable power and is a key part of Innocent’s ambitions to reduce its emissions by 50% a litre by 2030. However, the ramp-up of the site – opened in September 2021 – has been slower than expected.

“The combination of these factors meant our supply chain was unstable and impacted our ability to meet the demand from our customers,” said the accounts, signed off by chief operating officer James Davenport on 20 December 2023.

The accounts called 2022 “perhaps one of the most challenging years for the business”.

Cash-strapped shoppers also bought less branded smoothies and juice in favour of cheaper own-label options, the accounts added.

It meant operating losses surged £31.8m higher to £41.3m, while losses after tax increased more than five-fold to £48.8m.

Innocent has been focused on stabilising operations and getting back to profitability in 2023, with production volume at the Blender growing week on week, “strong” market share across all core markets and “good” revenue growth.

“We have seen stabilisation and improvement in our key metrics in H1,” the accounts said.

The group added it was now set to accelerate the business into 2024.

“We always knew the ambitious nature of the Blender was going to require a significant investment upfront,” an Innocent spokesman told The Grocer.

“Not only will it allow us to transform the long-term profitability of the business, but, as one of the world’s first all-electric fully renewable energy manufacturing plants, it is a blueprint for the future of sustainable manufacturing. Like many businesses, we have also been impacted by rising inflation and associated costs. Our market share is strong across all our core markets, and we are in good revenue growth, setting us up for an exciting 2024.”