Ex-Merrion chief John Conroy’s €75m food fund close to making first invstment

State pitches €15m into Redesdale fund through Enterprise Ireland

The Redesdale Food and Beverage Fund will invest in early stage wellness and food companies, with a heavy emphasis on those developing products with a health benefit.

The Redesdale Food and Beverage Fund will invest in early stage wellness and food companies, with a heavy emphasis on those developing products with a health benefit.

 

The new food investment fund launched by former Merrion Capital chief executive, John Conroy, is closely examining three potential investments, it is understood. Its first potential investment is at an advanced stage.

Redesdale Group, the investment group founded by Mr Conroy, has raised €27 million in the first round of financing for the new fund which will target early stage food companies.

The Redesdale Food & Beverage Fund, which is aiming to have €75 million to invest, is backed by investors including Musgrave, the retail group that owns SuperValu; agribusiness Monaghan Mushrooms; drinks behemoth Coca-Cola; consumer foods group, Tate & Lyle; as well as US funds group, Lord Abbett.

It is also being backed by the State through a €15 million investment from export agency, Enterprise Ireland.

The fund will target early stage wellness and food companies, with a heavy emphasis on those developing products with a health benefit. It will also seek out investments among companies developing, through research, products such as meat substitutes and protein products.

The fund’s advisory board is chaired by former chairman of Unilever, Niall FitzGerald, while the investment committee is chaired by Stan McCarthy, the former chief executive of Kerry Group.

Other members of the advisory board include Mary Ann O’Brien, the founder of Lily O’Brien’s Chocolates and Michael Carey, the former chairman of Bord Bia who previously ran the Jacob Fruitfield group.

Mr Conroy will be joined on the management and investment team by former head of food for Enterprise Ireland, Michael Cantwell; former world champion athlete, Eamonn Coghlan, who is the marketing manager; venture capitalist Owen Murphy; and food entrepreneur John Stapleton, who co-founded both the New Covent Garden Soup Company and baby food business Little Dish.

The new fund builds on plans for a previous food-focused venture that was to be launched by Mr Conroy, Acton, which has been renamed Redesdale after its launch was delayed by the pandemic.