Thursday, 9 Jul 2020

Direct Root: Food maker Strong Roots gets $18.3m in funding

STRONG Roots, the Irish frozen food company founded by Samuel Dennigan, has raised $18.3m (€16.5m) in funding from investors including New York private equity firm Goode Partners.

The financing will fuel the company’s US expansion, as it eyes sales of $300m (€271m) a year by 2023, compared to $50m in 2019. Mr Dennigan is also relocating to the United States.

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Goode partners Dan Banoff and David Oddi were appointed directors of one of the companies behind Strong Roots last month.

So too was Philippe Haspeslagh. He’s chairman of Brussels-based venture capital firm Capricorn Partners, and dean of the Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School.

However, it’s believed that neither Mr Haspeslagh nor Capricorn are investors in Strong Roots. He will provide additional experience and support to the company. He has also been chairman of Belgian firm Dujardin Foods, which merged last year with Ardo, a fellow frozen foods group.

Strong Roots’ plant-based frozen product range is aimed at health-conscious consumers, and includes items such as its sweet potato fries, pea and wakame seaweed burgers, beetroot and bean burgers, and cauliflower hash browns.

Mr Dennigan (33), whose grandfather established the Sam Dennigan vegetable wholesaler, founded Strong Roots in 2015. He was a 2018 EOY Ireland finalist.

Strong Roots’ products are sold by retailers in Ireland, as well as major chains including Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s in the UK.

The company recently expanded its presence into more than 3,000 US stores, with chains including Target, Wegmans and Whole Food Markets now stocking its products. It’s making its US debut with eight of its top-selling items.

“Consumers globally are more educated than ever about harnessing the nutritional benefits and delicious taste of plant-based foods and are looking for high-quality options that are convenient to prepare,” said Mr Dennigan. “We’re excited to bring our unique, plant-based products to people across the US.”

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