Richard Reed: Innocent Drinks
Focus: Fruit-based drinks
Company: Innocent Drinks
Innocent Drinks’ voracious appetite for publicity shows no sign of abating. But while it may be a master of PR, the attention is justified for the company started by Cambridge University mates Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright. It has overtaken P&J Smoothies as the numero uno provider of fruit smoothies in the UK with turnover rising from £400,000 in 1999 to almost £11m expected this year and £18m forecast for 2004. Expansion to Scandinavia and Benelux, healthy snacks, freezer foods and baby food products are planned.
As Europe’s best-selling smoothie brand, Innocent Drinks has become a household name. Forecasting a £200m turnover for 2012, the company employs 250 staff across Europe and offers customers veggie pots and yoghurts, among other products. Despite raising controversy in 2010 after selling 58% of the company to Coca-Cola, Reed and his co-founders have maintained control of the business and their high ethical standards, donating 10% of profits to charity.
In February 2013, Coca Cola increased its investment in Innocent Drinks to 90%, leaving the founders with only a minority share in the company – its revenues reached £250m last year. Since then, Reed, Balon and Wright have been focused on their investment vehicle JamJar Investments, which was established in 2012 to provide seed funding to early stage tech and offline firms. He also organised the Art Everywhere project with his wife Melinda, which displays works by prominent artists in public spaces such as billboards, tube stations and on black cabs. Most recently Reed was awarded a CBE for his services to the food industry and charity in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours and has been a passionate advocate of the Remain campaign in the run up to the EU Referendum.