Fast-growing challenger brand Strong Roots has secured £15m in private equity funding to support its expansion in the US market.
The supplier of frozen plant-based burgers and sides plans to use the cash injection to accelerate household penetration in the UK and its native Irish market, as well as continuing its push into the US.
“We’re excited to bring our unique, plant-based products to people across the US,” said founder and CEO Samuel Dennigan.
“We fit in the category of simple real food while for a lot of the development in the plant-based category, in frozen in particular, the US is focused on imitation meat and alternative proteins. Our proposition is something they are missing in the US market and that’s where we fit.”
The four-year-old brand launched in over 3,000 retailers Stateside in June, after agreeing deals with Target, Wegmans and Whole Foods Market.
Its range of root vegetables, veggie burgers and hash browns has also secured listings in the freezer aisles of all major UK grocers, including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer.
Internationally the company exports to Singapore, Iceland, the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar.
New York-based PE investor Goode Partners led the Series A funding round as it aimed to help Strong Roots “fuel the next stage of its growth story”, partner Dan Bonoff said.
Since its launch in 2015, Strong Roots has sold over eight million packs worldwide, achieving 110% annual sales growth over the past two years.
The brand now expects retail value sales to rocket to £41m in 2019 and is targeting £246m in sales by 2023.
Charles Lanceley, director at mid-market investment banking firm Alantra who advised on the deal, said the company received “lots of inbound interest” from strategic and private equity firms with Goode Partners “ticking all the boxes” due to its US base and focus on the consumer sector.
“Strong Roots is one of those rare brands that has managed to capture the imagination of consumers whilst addressing a genuine need in the marketplace,” Lanceley said.
“They have managed to take a very strategic view from day one as to what they should be doing and where. As a result, the brand has achieved remarkable growth in an area of the supermarket that hasn’t changed for decades.”
Earlier this year Strong Roots surged to the top of Alantra’s Fast 50 list amid a resurgence of the frozen food category.
Its rapid growth saw it pip sports nutrition brand Grenade and last year’s top dog, Pots & Co, to head up the annual list of the 50 fastest growing privately owned fmcg firms.
Lanceley now believes Strong Roots has the potential to expand both within frozen and “a number of other categories” such as chilled and ambient.
“With the right support Strong Roots can be the plant-based food brand for all types of consumers in all markets,” he added.