Samuel Dennigan, CEO and founder of Dublin-based frozen food firm Strong Roots, has outlined his fears of a no-deal Brexit.
Speaking at the Food Matters Live virtual event on Wednesday (14 October), Dennigan said he fears there will be implications for food businesses such as Strong Roots – which have a product range based on plant-based ingredients – if the UK ends the post-Brexit transition period at the end of this year without agreeing a trade deal with its former European Union partners.
“The lack of a trade deal between the EU and Britain is a huge risk to plant-based food in general. The demand for non-seasonal items will not be met by growing your own,” he said, referring to UK food producers who source ingredients from throughout the EU.
As a hedge against the risk of imported vegetables incurring tariffs under a no-deal scenario, Dennigan said Strong Roots, which has listings with major supermarket chains in the UK, Ireland and the US, is seeking to source more of its ingredients at the local level.
“A big part of this is Brexit and localisation of supply. We are focusing on local solutions,” he said.
Dennigan is also keen Strong Roots avoids any problems caused by Brexit by becoming increasingly international in its outlook.
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“Our current goal is globalisation. By the end of 2023, we want to be available to 10% of the global population,” he said. “We are looking at how we can enter more territories.”
The company, which secured investment from US private-equity firm Goode Partners in September 2019, is also looking to expand into new categories.
“We have been focusing on where the market is not going. We have to forge our own way. As a taste-first brand we start there and work backwards,” Dennigan said.
“We are trying to figure out how we fit into categories that haven’t been tackled yet. Frozen breakfast items for example.”
He said Strong Roots is also testing products fortified with vitamins, minerals and protein.
“It has been one of our big innovation territories in 2020. We have seen a great response and see it as a big area for growth,” Dennigan said.