When does the little guy become the big guy? At what point does a cottage industry become a sprawling commercial empire with fingers in every metaphorical pie?
Actually, pies are one category where Levi Roots hasn’t yet swept all before him (though you can get his chicken pasties from Sainsbury’s). Soft drinks, ready meals… and as of last week, as we reported, crisps. (Incidentally, the consensus in the office was that they tasted okay but needed more of a kick.)
It doesn’t stop there. Today – inevitably, given the obviousness of the name – comes Rasta Pasta. This addition to his range of cooking sauces is a “lightly spiced, Caribbean-inspired sauce with sun-ripened tomatoes, pineapple and guava” that aims to bring some Reggae Reggae action to the pasta fixture, an area that can probably use some stirring up.
It’s hard to begrudge Roots his success. As The Grocer found a few months ago when it came face to face with the man himself, Roots is as engaging in person as he was in that career-making turn on Dragons’ Den.
And while the dramatic expansion of the brand offers an object study in empire building, Roots remains an unlikely puppet-master (despite the vaguely sinister pose on the Rasta Pasta label).
Most empires over-reach themselves in the end – and grocery is littered with examples of brands that went an extension too far. But for now the food trade’s countless aspiring Dragons must be wondering what they can do to match the magic of the music man with the seemingly golden touch.