James Averdieck is the founder of Gü Chocolate Puds, launched in May 2003.
Born in Yorkshire in 1965, James was educated at Uppingham School before studying Economics at Durham University from 1985 to 1988.
After leaving university, James joined the graduate programme at strategy consultants, Arthur D. Little, where he stayed for two years, working in Europe, US and the Middle East. He enjoyed consulting and learnt about the key drivers to a successful business, but wanted to get closer to the coal-face.
Averdieck spent the next 9 years in the food industry working for both Safeway and St Ivel and learnt about Sales and Marketing and running businesses.
With St Ivel, James moved to Belgium and became a convert to Belgian gastronomy and, as he says, ‘went native on the chocolate front’.
It was in Brussels that the seed was sown for his UK chocolate venture. James saw the opportunity of marrying high-quality chocolate patisserie with efficient UK supermarket distribution.
Averdieck realized that UK consumers were demanding more quality and moving away from mass-produced ‘branded’ products. By marrying up high-quality chocolate patisserie with efficient UK supermarket distribution, James was confident he could take on the big players.
He wanted to create a brand “more focused than the big brands on using high-quality raw materials to deliver uncompromisingly good products.”
Gü was launched with three products in 2003, and subsequently joined by its fruity sibling, Frü, which followed two years later. In May 2010 the two brands joined forces under the name of Gü.
Gü, the brand, is about chocolate extremism – evoking nostalgic memories and magical smells of baking with chocolate. The brand was well received by the supermarkets, launching first in Sainsburys and Waitrose with the others following apace.
Gü is now a £50m business, one of the fastest-growing food companies in the UK and is credited with revolutionising the quality of desserts. It’s estimated that a Gü pud is now eaten somewhere in the world every 2 seconds. It has offices in London and Paris, selling in the UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Belgium.
In the process, James Averdieck has realised his chocolate dream of selling soufflés to the French and chocolate to the Belgians.
James is now the MD and co-founder of The Coconut Collaborative – healthy dairy-free yogurts which does a third of its business internationally.
As a keynote speaker, James’ speaking topics include:
- Marketing and Branding
- Food and Drink Industry