Richard Reed is the co-founder of innocent drinks, the UK’s fastest growing food and drinks company and the no.1 smoothie brand in the UK. A versatile and engaging speaker, Richard draws upon his innovative and creative ideas to inspire audiences with his entertaining presentations.
Richard Reed is the co-founder of Innocent Drinks, the UK’s fastest growing food and drinks company and the no.1 smoothie brand in the UK. The company sell over two million drinks each week and holds a 78% share of a growing market. They also set new standards by running everything on green energy and giving 10% of profits to charity.
In 2006 Innocent Drinks employed 89 people, and had its little tasty drinks selling in over 6,000 outlets. Over the next five years sustained growth has seen Innocent increase to a workforce of over 250 people and over 10,000 outlets. The innocent range now has over 36 products for sale including: Veg Pots, special smoothies for children, big one litre cartons for families at home, juicy waters for a more refreshing natural drink and thickies for a yoghurt and fruit blend. The drinks regularly win industry awards, including Best Soft Drink in the UK.
Innocent is not Richard’s first enterprise. In fact his entrepreneurial career started earlier than most, when he began washing windows for his neighbors at the age of 8. Following a brief spell of selling Smurf stickers at junior school (until his teachers caught him), Richard retired from the coalface of self-employment, aged 12. However, a summer job picking up dog biscuits in a pet food factory soon reminded Richard of the joys of working for himself, and led him to set up a summer gardening business called Two Men Went to Mow, employing his school friends.
After graduating from Cambridge University and working in advertising for four years, Richard and his two college friends Jon and Adam, decided to set up a lovely fresh fruit juice company. After six months of developing recipes in their kitchen, they boys wanted to test their drinks with a wider audience. To do so, they bought £500 of fruit, turned it into smoothies and sold them from a stall at a music festival. They put up a sign that said, ‘Should we give up our jobs to make these smoothies’, and put out a big bin that said NO and one that said YES. Fortunately, at the end of the weekend, the YES bin was full so they went in the next day and resigned.
Since then the combination of an all-natural product and a slightly anarchic approach has helped Innocent gain huge visibility and respect. Richard and his team have been voted Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs of the Year, and were invited to Downing Street to offer advice on creating the right environment to encourage new businesses. The company has also won several other awards among them Small/Medium Business of the Year, Most Promising New Company, Orange Small Business of the Year, Orange Marketing Campaign of the Year, Orange Innovative Company of the Year, Best Investors in People, Innovative Company of the Year and Growing Business Awards.
The company proves that you can be fast growing and profitable while being responsible, and funds an NGO in India called Women for Sustainable Development, pays for urban forests in run down areas in the UK, gives its spare smoothies each day to the homeless and runs its office, Fruit Towers, on green electricity. Innocent smoothies have won more taste tests than all their competitors put together.
Richard’s business mantra centres on simplicity, caring deeply about the product and the wider picture, involving the workforce, focusing on detail, listening to criticism and letting image look after itself.
- The Innocent Story
- Creative Thinking
- Social Corporate Responsibility