‘Radical’ Irish frozen food firm signs deals with Ocado and Amazon

Strong Roots to see its healthy frozen veg products sold by more stockists in UK

Strong Roots, an Irish food company that specialises in healthy frozen vegetable products such as kale-and-quinoa burgers and sweet-potato fries, is expecting revenue to jump 500 per cent this year after signing two new groundbreaking deals in the UK.

The company, which was established by Dubliner Sam Dennigan in 2015, is to have its product range stocked by Ocado, the world's largest dedicated online retailer. Amazon Fresh, which introduced fresh food deliveries in the UK last year, has also agreed to become a stockist.

Strong Roots products, which also include ripened avocado halves, are already widely available in stores across Ireland and in Waitrose in Britain. A number of new product lines are to be introduced by the company before the end of this year.

The company, which recorded turnover of €2 million in 2016, is now forecasting revenue of €10 million for 2017 with Mr Dennigan optimistic the company can hit the €100 million mark within the next five years.


New markets

Mr Dennigan told The Irish Times that Strong Roots recently launched in Bahrain and Qatar and is also set to roll out its products in several other new markets including Iceland, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

“The majority of revenues so far have come from Ireland but we’re now largely focused on the UK market where demand is soaring for our products. We have five new lines coming out shortly and as we’re getting into more stores than ever both in Britain and further afield I think it is highly realistic that we could reach €100 million in turnover,” he said.

“We are weighing up a move to the US at some point but our main target for the foreseeable future will be the UK due to the potential market with the frozen-food market worth in excess of £300 million,” he added.

Mr Dennigan, a finalist in this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards, is a grandson of the founder of Sam Dennigan and Company, a North Dublin-based firm that specialises in fresh fruit and vegetables. The family-run business employs 350 people and recorded turnover of €110 million in 2016.

The entrepreneur, whose company was earlier this year named best start-up business in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur awards, said that while Strong Roots had competition in some products, currently no other business had as big a range as it does.

The company has been largely self-funded to-date although Mr Dennigan said he was considering taking in equity investment at some future point as it looks to ramp up activity and reach a mass market more quickly.

“I set up Strong Roots to revolutionise the frozen food category and we’ve already made great progress in bringing it back from the dead,” he said.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist