Richard Reed on competitive pressure [Video]

The co-founder of Innocent Drinks on "becoming the target" and competitors' mistakes

Innocent Drinks has grown to become the UK’s leading healthy smoothie brand and its success to date has seen a rise in competitor activities, a point which Innocent co-founder Richard Reed recognises but is on the whole, unfazed by.

In Reed’s eyes competition is no bad thing and although he asserts that Innocent has “definitely become the target”, on balance he says it has been “good, strong, competitive pressure” and suggests that competition has risen as Innocent has the “big market share and that’s the way it goes”.

Sharing the smoothie business’ continuity plans and exposure to competition, Reed laughs off concerns and says “I would rather be the one that’s being attacked, as it were, because we’ve got something that’s worth defending!”

Discussing how Innocent has maintained its position in the market, Reed points to flaws in competitor business plans and suggests that companies have “fundamentally misjudged that it’s not about the logo, it’s not about the label, it’s not about the funny words and pictures, it’s about the quality of the product.”

Reiterating the point that “people have come into the smoothie market and misjudged it”, Reed says businesses looking to keep the same margins and cut costs by using bulking agents or cheaper fruits will fail; “you’re not in the market for a bad tasting product if you buy a smoothie” but you’re looking for something “that is healthy and natural”.

When it comes to planning, Reed argues entrepreneurs should maintain focus, “keep it simple” and ensure they know their market.

And, after years spent building smoothie giant Innocent, Reed maintains that the greatest businesses “understand what they’re here to do and understand what’s the most important thing [to the business] and they do that every day.”

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