Don't get me started on Smarties. Several years ago, some moron in their design department decided to do away with the cylindrical tubes and plastic lids and replace them with a rubbish hexagonal design. Did they consider the impact of this on their customers? They did not. You can no longer sneakily remove the lid from your brother's tube and steal all the good colours (orange, green, blue. Red at a push) and replace them with yellows and browns. There is no more popping the plastic lid off the tube at your dog. But most importantly - most importantly Nestle, you set of cretinous fools, the youth of today can no longer COLLECT ALL THE PLASTIC TOPS WITH LETTERS ON THEM AND MAKE A PRETEND TYPEWRITER OUT OF THEM.
Thank goodness then for Innocent, who know about the importance of these things. Rory and I were sent some Innocent kids products to review recently, and before we even address the deliciousness of their smoothies, I must inform you that these guys are a shining beacon of marketing brilliance in a world of retail that doesn't seem to try. The reason for my joy? They put 3 alphabet fridge magnets* in their packs of children's smoothies and fruit tubes. Innocent, I applaud you, nay, worship at your feet. Thank you for taking up where those eejits at the Smarties HQ left off. We now have a fridge door full of beautifully designed letters, which have tied in beautifully with Rory's first foray into phonics. Not only that, the packaging is a miracle of marketing genius, with fun facts and/or educational games or activities printed on the outer side of the boxes, and other activities inside the box (we had a monkey that you can cut out and attach to people to annoy them). Those of you who are familiar with Innocent will already know that everything on their products is written with humour and personality, and this is much the same on their kids products. Well done Innocent for knowing your customer base so well, and especially well done on your attention to kiddy friendly detail. It really does make such a difference.
OK, on to the actual products. We tested the orange, mango and pineapple smoothies and the strawberry and raspberry fruit tubes.
The smoothies were an immediate hit with Rory. He'll eat some fruits but isn't a major fan, and it can be a struggle to get him to eat enough of the stuff, so it was brilliant to be able to give him a smoothie carton knowing that it contained one of his five a day. He thinks they're delicious and really enjoyed them. I found them particularly good for breakfast as I could give him a slice of wholemeal toast and a smoothie, knowing that he'd had a fairly nutritious breakfast and was well set up for the day. He's also a bit of a pain about eating in general (he's too busy to be much bothered about food), so on the odd occasion that he was refusing to stop playing and eat something, I could give him a carton and know that he'd at least had some fruit. And they are really really tasty. I should know. I stole one. My only request is this: Please please please make the cartons an easier shape to put the straws in. I couldn't do it without a struggle and getting smoothie all over the place. Please, won't somebody think of the cack-handed.
He wasn't as keen on the fruit tubes initially. They're basically fruit puree in a tube (like those Frube fromage frais things that you can buy, but puree), so brilliant for lunch boxes. They're easy enough for a child over the age of 5 to open, and the puree gets sucked out of a small hole, so they're unlikely to explode. They appealed to me because their content is more or less the same as those pouches of fruit that you can get for babies by Ella's Kitchen and Plum, but they need to be refrigerated because they're fresh. I find this need for refrigeration reassuring. My non scientific brain doesn't understand why those baby pouches don't need to be refrigerated if they don't contain any preservatives. I am convinced that it is some kind of magick at work (note spelling: 'magic' = Paul Daniels and co, 'magick' = potential involvement of pixies. I don't trust pixies). So, yes, they need to stay in the fridge and I would assume that you'd need some sort of cooling implement to keep them fresh in a lunch box.
Rory wasn't bothered about them (as he isn't about the baby pouches) until I discovered putting them in the freezer and turning them into ice pops. After that, he was hanging out at the freezer door demanding them approximately every 20 minutes. This is an excellent trick for getting fruit into your child, and as freezing them means that they don't go mouldy, I am now quite happy to have a box of them in my freezer for fruity emergencies. I guess you could also do this with the smoothies by pouring them into ice lolly moulds.
So, there we have it. Innocent kids products are a resounding success in this household. Well done that company for making tasty healthy fruity things and knowing that it's the little things that make all the difference. The Domestic Disgrace household salute you.
*Be aware that they state on the packaging that the magnets are not suitable for children under 3. I am guessing that this is a disclaimer for legal reasons as swallowing magnets can be seriously dangerous and can even cause death. It's up to you as a parent to decide if you allow your child to have them.
**Disclaimer: These opinions are my own. I do not work for Innocent, nor have I been paid for my opinions.