the blender series, part 1: the art of the possible

In the first of a three-part series of blogs that will take a closer look at Integrated Food Projects’ involvement in the delivery of innocent’s new factory, the blender, here Nigel Devine, associate project director, details the importance of the evaluation stage of the project.

We first started speaking to innocent about the possibility of the brand moving away from an outsourcing model back in 2017, with a vision of building a new factory to manufacture their core products in its own factory.

innocent had a very clear vision of the type of factory they wanted to build, in line with their values and purpose, as such, it was integral that sustainability was at the heart of every key decision that was made – with the goal of building a net carbon zero facility.  Initially, questions were focused on cost and feasibility, but we quickly reframed this to ask whether innocent should become a manufacturer at all – what this would achieve for the business, customers, suppliers, and of course how could the environmental impact of the business be reduced?

As part of the evaluation process, IFP modelled a new operating P&L for innocent – this is often in existence, however, as is the case for many brands which run an outsourced model, it needed creating from the bottom up.  This is an element of the evaluation process that we expect to become more commonplace in the coming years, as sectors such as plant-based food and drink continue to rapidly expand, many successful brands will be exploring the possibility of manufacturing their own products.

Throughout the evaluation process, the IFP team shielded themselves from existing data and information on the financials of the existing outsource model.  This allowed the team to remain impartial and more objective in their assessment of feasibility.

The resulting conclusions not only provided a strong business case for the blender, but also, aided by innocent having a clear sense of their values, the evaluation was also assessed against environmental credentials and innocent’s values.

This wasn’t an evaluation purely focused on the potential financial benefit to innocent.  From day one it was integral that any new project would be built upon innocent’s core values – purpose was at an equal footing to profit in the decision to build the blender.

Of course, sustainability has far-reaching benefits to the business, customers, suppliers and society, but in a future where the environment will be front and centre for the food and drink manufacturing sector, it does provide advantages to help future-proof the business.

For example, the business case was delivered without taking into consideration possible new carbon taxes and energy price rises, as such innocent will be sheltered from these while further enhancing their brand and core values through a sustainable factory and supply chain.

In the coming years I firmly believe that the decision that innocent took will be deemed to be a very smart one. the blender goes beyond efficiency and improved financials for innocent, it’s an ambitious and industry-leading facility that acts as a great example of the ‘art of the possible’.

In the next blog, Integrated Food Projects will take a closer look at just how the factory was designed and built with sustainability placed at the centre of every decision – including the techniques and technology that was implemented to ensure that sustainability was at the centre of the design of the blender, the earth’s favourite little healthy drinks factory.


Integrated Food Projects have partnered with Kettleby Foods on a number of high-profile multi-million pound capital projects since 2003/4, helping the business to develop and grow. Throughout that time they have provided cost-effective and efficient solutions on development projects both at our existing ready meals production facility and also in creating a new satellite facility. The projects at our existing facility were managed without impact on our ability to service our own clients, and all projects have been delivered within budget, in a timely fashion and to the requisite standards of safety and quality. Their team work ethos and professional approach ensure successful projects and I would utilise Integrated Food Projects in the future without hesitation.

- Jarrod Thorndyke, Production Director

I have worked with Integrated Food Projects on many capital expenditure projects since 2004, the latest being the development of the new plot of land adjacent to our main site. They successfully employed a project delivery process to ensure the integration of a leased modular building solution with the development of the site infrastructure to improve logistics and Health and Safety. Their staff are always positive and enthusiastic and have fostered a team-work approach ensuring another successful project delivered. I look forward to working with them again in the near future.

- Engineering Manager, Major UK Ready Meals Manufacturer