Rogue jams

Source: Rogue

Rogue launched a five-strong range of marmalades and cereals into Asda in April through the retailer’s Nurture Brands programme

Spreads and cereals brand Rogue has entered insolvency after losing its Asda listings.

In a recent LinkedIn post, Rogue founder Asher Flowers wrote that the business could “no longer continue to trade or grow” due to a culmination of “rising costs, manufacturing capacity and access to investment”.

Flowers appealed to investors, buyers, and wholesalers to “really level the playing field of what access there is to investment in black-owned business, valuations and margin expectations”.

Speaking to The Grocer, Flowers said the business had been operating on “little to no funds” and had to contend with “a price increase that shafted us”, in addition to losing its Asda listings.

Rogue made its Asda debut in April, when a duo of its cocktail-inspired marmalades – Negroni and Dark & Stormy – and a trio of cereals – in Cinnamon French Toast, Chocolate Hazelnut and Cherry Bakewell flavours – rolled into the retailer as part of its Nurture Brands incubator programme.

However, “within a few weeks Asda had decided that project for them was no longer something they wanted to continue doing”, said Flowers.

“You’ll find it with a lot of buyers that they’ll have these grandiose ideas, but there’s no long-term buy-in. The reality is: what’s it going to do in the next five to 10 years for anyone?”

A spokesman for Asda said: “We stocked Rogue for an initial 12-week trial as part of our Nurture programme and subsequently extended this period by a further four weeks to assess sales and customer feedback.”

“Based on this information, we decided not to continue with this listing.”

‘Fair’ valuations

Flowers appealed to investors to offer “fair valuations” after his business was last year valued at £500k, despite winning listings in “three major multiples”.

There tended to be “a certain demographic of people within the industry”, with “very similar” backgrounds, he said.

“It just becomes frustrating. It doesn’t seem like they’re taking that much risk, or they’re really trying to push brands on getting any further. The reason brands go out of business is usually because they’re not as funded as other brands.”

Flowers recently appeared on Future Food Stars, Gordon Ramsay’s Apprentice-style competition show for food and drink brand-owners.