NETHERLANDS – UK-based Coca-Cola subsidiary, Juice Drinks is investing more than US$260 million in building a first of its kind smoothies and juice drinks factory in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.  

The facility, lauded as a world-first, is being built by the company’s project partner, GEA, and will open next spring.

It is expected to produce 300 million liters of chilled juice drinks and smoothies annually. 

Stefan Klebert, CEO of GEA says, the companies have pushed the envelope beyond standard beverage production practice. 

“Not only have we integrated the most resource-efficient technologies, we have also entirely rethought the processes and the heating and refrigeration systems,” says Klebert. 

Facilities at the new factory include GEA’s manufacturing and refrigeration technology which  is designed to significantly reduce Innocent’s energy consumption and by extension its carbon footprint.  

Water used for pasteurization will be heated using waste heat from the refrigeration plant while GEA’s heat pump will recover waste heat from the refrigeration systems and reuse it in other process steps. 

Two separate heating circuits will also be used, and Innocent will only cool juices where necessary, which improves energy efficiency by about 4%. 

To further reduce the impact on the environment, Innocent transport fleet consists of 100% fully electric 50-ton trucks. 

The Port of Rotterdam, a central location in the Netherlands and Europe, is also strategic as innocent’s resources and products will travel less, reducing the length of its supply chain by 20%. 

“Food and beverage manufacturers can choose to base their future plant designs on our model,” says Andy Joynson, chief blender and site director at Innocent. 

“We want to inspire and support a broad-based transformation. In line with that, we are consciously inviting the industry to share in our findings – and at the same time to learn from our missteps and our successes.” 

Innocent committed itself in 2019 to be completely CO2 neutral by 2030 which is 20 years earlier than agreed in the Paris Climate Agreement. 

The Coca-Cola owned company sees the blender in Rotterdam as an important step towards achieving this goal.  

Additionally, Innocent has ambitions to operate CO2-neutrally by 2025 by means of compensation projects and pledges to continue to invest in this area in the coming period, as well as in sustainable management and use of nature. 

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