Innocent’s CEO Douglas Lamont has warned decisions on hiking prices of the brand’s smoothies are “imminent,” as retailers face mounting cost pressures.
Speaking to CityAM, Lamont said there were “huge challenges out there,” with cost pressures and limited driver availability.
“We’ve all been quite battle-hardened [after the pandemic], in terms of keeping service levels. We’re certainly not seeing service levels we would hope for,” he added.
Ingredient deliveries have faced delays at ports due to global shipping disruption. “Our ingredients have a relatively short shelf time. That’s causing us some headaches,” Lamont explained.
“It’s very basic, practical stuff that you have to overcome, alongside inflation in a number of key drivers, wood, electricity, gas,” he added.
While Innocent said it would fight for value for customers, decisions on prices were “still to come but imminent.”
“I don’t think there’s any supplier at the moment saying if this carries on we have to absorb the prices,” he added.
Unlike others, the retailer is not particularly worried about a subdued Christmas, as a non-seasonal category. However, it is preparing for retailers to prioritise more festive categories with the deliveries into stores. “Do they take Christmas puddings in versus orange juices?”
Lamont’s remarks come as the retailer today unveiled its fresh ambitions to be carbon neutral before 2025.
The juicemaker has launched a $250m carbon neutral factory, which it said was the world’s most sustainable production facility of its kind, run on 100 per cent renewable energy.
A new bottle – made with 50 per cent plant plastic and 50 per cent recycled plastic – will be launched commercially across all markets in 2025.
The drinks-maker is also funding carbon reduction projects through its recently-launched Farmer Innovation Fund.
The fund runs alongside the Beacon Project and works with two food producers to introduce different methods of modifying pesticide use and promote native flower species to help cut carbon production by 10 per cent across 18 farm trial sites.
Designs for a carbon neutral blender, officially opening in 2022, have been sent to Innocent’s rivals, with Lamont calling sustainability a “team sport.”
Businesses must “collaborate ruthlessly” to contribute to a “fairer future,” the CEO added.
Consumers are increasingly interested in purchasing from companies they see to benefit the environment. However, businesses have faced accusations of tokenistic ‘greenwashing’.
Transparency should drive appeals to shoppers, Lamont explained. “We are almost asking to be held accountable,” he said, pointing to the firm’s impact report.
The 2020 report said it had “not done enough to promote racial equality,” prior to the Black Lives Matter movement. “We promised to do better, and we’ve listened and grown since,” it said.