UK – Strong Roots, an Ireland-based vegetarian frozen food company has raised US$18.3 million in funding led by private equity firm Goode Partners, as the company seeks to expand into the US and UK markets.

Strong Roots produces a range of frozen plant-based products including plant-based burgers and sides.

The Irish company has already entered the US market, with its products present in retailers, including Target, Wegmans and Whole Foods, and in the UK at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer.

The company expects its total retail sales to reach US$50 million by the end of this year, and reach US$300 million by 2023. Strong Roots growth targets come at a time when consumers globally are looking for healthy options.

Strong Roots is hoping to use the new financing to expand its research and development efforts to provide more functional foods and nutrients, according to chief executive officer Samuel Dennigan.

 “Consumers globally are more educated than ever about harnessing the nutritional benefits and delicious taste of plant-based foods and are looking for high-quality options that are convenient to prepare.

“We’re excited to bring our unique, plant-based products to people across the US,” Dennigan said.

Strong Roots began selling its frozen foods in 2015 just as the vegan and health food craze began to surge, building up a brand as a vegan alternative in frozen foods and Dennigan says the company is now ready to expand into other categories.

“The pieces of IP that are going to be developed and placed in market in the next 12 months especially around the fortification of the products. What our research is showing us is that there’s a huge opportunity between extruded and food and what we’re doing.”

Dan Bonoff, a partner at Goode, said: “Sam is an extremely talented and passionate entrepreneur who has created a truly differentiated brand and line of delicious plant-based food products.

“In an impressively short amount of time, Sam has built an exciting brand that resonates with consumers’ increasing preferences towards healthful and environmentally sustainable foods.”