In this episode we talk to Sam Dennigan, Founder and CEO of the UK’s Fastest Growing Food Brand, Strong Roots. https://www.strongroots.com/

Strong Roots is a super-successful frozen food brand that offers plant-based, tasty, convenient and healthy food for everyone. Founded and launched in Ireland, it has delivered transformational growth in both Ireland and the UK, doubling its turnover each year to achieve an annual growth rate of 109.1% https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/results/strong-roots-takes-top-spot-from-pots-and-co-in-alantra-fast-50-list/591588.article.

Changing category dynamics: But it’s not only the business’s own growth figures that are transformational; it’s the way in which this brand is changing who shops the frozen category, bringing new, younger shoppers into a category that was in serial decline, and offering an opportunity for retailers to sell something that is no longer all about Price.

Launch in the USA: Strong Roots has recently taken the huge step of launching in over 2000 stores in the USA, and has won the coveted golden Nexty Award for its Kale and Quinoa burger as testimony to the great fit of its product proposition in the USA market. http:// https://www.nextyawards.com/en/winners/2019-winners.html

There’s loads of things about this business that excite me: the brand and its packaging; the products – how they taste, and how easily they fit into my busy life and my weekly shop for the family; Sam and the super team that he has put together; how they work together and do things differently than bigger CPG companies.

Listen to Sam desecribe how his experience in his family’s food business has shaped Strong Roots’ success, on how everyone in the company needs to be a Sales person, and the importance of earning the respect of early adopters and being “found” or discovered by consumers.

Get to know Strong Roots’ products: https://www.strongroots.com/products/

Get inspired with ideas for dinner : https://www.instagram.com/strongrootsirl/

Episode 5 Timestamps:

[00:28] – Introducing today’s guest, founder of frozen plant-based food brand Strong Roots, Sam Dennigan.

[01:25] –  Strong Roots is only four years old and is now the fastest growing food and beverage brand in the UK, winning loads of business and food awards. What is Strong Roots, who is it for and where is it sold?

[02:02] – What kind of products does Strong Roots offer?

[02:52] – Sam describes their key consumer; who eats Strong Roots products and why?  Sam explains the term Reducetarian, that is being frequently used to describe consumers who are eating less meat.

[03:34] – When would the key Strong Roots consumer eat their products?

[04:20] – What is the difference between Strong Roots products and other frozen food products that are already available on the market?

[06:11] – Sam has a background in the food industry and has significant knowledge and understanding of manufacturing.

[07:19] – How important is Sales as a function and driver of success, and how much did Sam’s family business teach him about this aspect of the food industry?

[09:03] – People starting up food businesses come from a range of different backgrounds and may not have everything figured out from the get go. However, this is not something that should discourage people

[11.40] – Sam explains there are a number of things you can only learn from hands on experience.

[11:56] – Doing things differently, like Sam has done, often comes from brave decisions or looking at situations from a different angle. What are some of the decisions he has made that are different to what other existing brands and start ups have done, in particularly in terms of where to compete?  Sam talks about the decisions to launch with just one SKU, and to enter a declining category.

[15:30] – Sam speaks about the importance of challenging the norm and the fact that there’s no point in just “taking part” or being “average”.

[15:42] – Strong Roots has created new growth bringing new shoppers to the frozen foods category in Ireland and the UK. Is this possible in other countries where the frozen category is in decline?

[16:00] – Why launch into the USA, the biggest existing frozen food market in the world? Sam talks about values and innovation vs. profit.

[17:26] – With their distribution and experience, why do some Big Food companies fail to succeed in markets like the UK? What are they doing differently to a company like Strong Roots?

[18.12] – Sam explains that the consumer sees right through the efforts of Big Food to try and seem like small food brands. He talks about the importance of authenticity and passion, and a real brand story.

[19.34] – Strong Roots has launched in the USA in 1000 stores in the past 2 weeks.

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