TORONTO, CANADA and NEW YORK — Strong Roots, a plant-based frozen food company and McCain Foods, the family-owned world leader in frozen potato specialties and appetizers, announced a strategic partnership on Dec. 8, with McCain Foods investing $55 million in Strong Roots to take a minority stake in the business. The partnership enables Strong Roots and McCain Foods to continue meeting the rising consumer demand for healthy and natural food globally.
Strong Roots and McCain Foods will work together to leverage both companies’ complementary strengths to continue Strong Roots’ rapid growth and further its mission to “fix the freezer aisle” and provide plant-based, environmentally responsible, positive food choices, for everyone - globally and impactfully. Strong Roots will continue to operate in an independent capacity.
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Strong Roots will use McCain Foods’ global presence to expand its own footprint in existing markets, including GB, Ireland, United States, and to enter new markets working with new retailers. The partnership will also allow Strong Roots to expand into the foodservice market through McCain Foods’ out-of-home network.
Partnering with Strong Roots, McCain Foods will gain an expanded product portfolio that reaches out to the rising number of consumers looking for healthy, natural and simple meals that are tasty and include real fruits and vegetables.
The partnership also bolsters McCain Foods’ commitment to planet-friendly foods. Strong Roots is focused on creating products that are sustainably farmed, shipped and sold, and was the first Irish plant-based food business awarded a B Corp Certificate in 2020.
Samuel Dennigan, Strong Roots Founder and CEO, said: “As food producers, our role is to be better, food can be better, and our duty is to lead the betterment of ingredients, sourcing, packaging, process and taste, at the same time as working with our partners to achieve this.
“Working in partnership with McCain Foods means that we are able to grow our brand and the values it stands for, while providing us at Strong Roots with the resources and capabilities we need to see change through globally and impactfully.”
Max Koeune, President & CEO of McCain Foods, said: “Since the McCain family founded McCain Foods in 1957, our entrepreneurial roots and passionate focus on creating the best tasting food has led to us being at the centre of mealtimes for generations.
“That’s why we’re so excited to be partnering with Strong Roots, a company that not only aligns with our innovative approach to creating food, but also helps us grow our portfolio of healthier food that meets changing consumer demands in a sustainable way. We’re looking forward to working with Samuel and the Strong Roots team to help bring a healthy range into more homes across the world.”
Howard Snape, Regional President of McCain GB & Ireland, said: “As a family-run business, we take a long-term approach to everything we do, whether that’s focusing on making our products in a sustainable way to support the planet, or ensuring our food continues to meet constantly changing consumer needs.
“Strong Roots is a company that not only focuses strongly on sustainability but is also doing incredible work to grow the range of healthy frozen foods available when consumers are looking for it most.”
Today’s strategic partnership follows several years of rapid growth for Strong Roots since its inception in 2015. The food producer’s range of cauliflower hash browns, mixed root vegetable fries, bites and burgers, became a firm favourite of people in Ireland, the UK and the US, looking for a convenient plant-based option.
For McCain Foods, the announcement complements a series of investments in recent years ensuring the leading food producer continues to meet the changing consumer tastes globally. Examples include its investment in The Simple Root, a plant-based food producer offering dairy alternative products, SIMULATE, a plant-based chicken nugget alternative, and GoodLeaf Farms, an indoor vertical farming company that grows nutritious, delicious and sustainable leafy greens.
In connection with the transaction, Goode Partners LLC, a New York-based consumer private equity fund, which led the Series A investment in Strong Roots, is exiting the Board of Strong Roots and selling its shareholding, marking a successful exit for the investors.