McCain Foods invests $55 million in plant-based startup strong roots

Strong Roots, an Irish plant-based frozen foods startup, has sold a minority stake in the company to frozen food giant McCain Foods for $55 million. Strong Roots will continue to operate independently, but the deal gives it access to the supply chain and worldwide distribution networks of one of the largest frozen food brands.

McCain Foods, in turn, gains another foothold in the fast-growing plant-based and meat-substitute frozen category, and adds a sustainability-focused brand to its portfolio.

McCain’s previous investments in plant-based and sustainable food brands include The Simple Root, a producer of dairy alternative brands; Simulate, a plant-based chicken nugget alternative; and GoodLeaf Farms, an indoor vertical farming company.

The investment “helps us grow our portfolio of healthier food that meets changing consumer demands in a sustainable way,” said Max Koeune, president and CEO of McCain Foods.

Strong Roots this year was awarded B Corp certification for its environmental and social efforts. McCain, according to Strong Roots Founder Samuel Dennigan, was “the obvious choice” for investment partner. McCain, Dennigan said, not only can “leverage manufacturing, supply chain,” but also brings “a huge amount of R&D potential that could work incredibly well with our brand.” The partnership, he said, will help his company “achieve our ultimate goal of turning Strong Roots into a global household brand name, which has been our objective since the start.”

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