NEW YORK — Vestar Capital Partners, a middle market private equity firm, has made a majority growth investment in Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods, a brand specializing in plant-based frozen and refrigerated foods.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Larry Praeger, chief executive officer, and Adam Somberg, president, will continue in their roles and will remain investors in Dr. Praeger’s, Elmwood Park, NJ. Jeffrey Ansell, senior adviser to Vestar, will become chairman of the board at Dr. Praeger’s.
“The US better-for-you market has never been stronger, and we are excited to partner with a company that has been at the forefront of this trend and knows the market intimately,” said Winston Song, managing director and co-head of the consumer segment at Vestar. “Larry and Adam have done a tremendous job building the company and developing new products that speak to today’s consumers: flexitarians, vegetarians, vegans and those who seek a healthier lifestyle. We look forward to partnering with the Praeger and Somberg families as well as the senior management team to strategically accelerate growth.”
Two heart surgeons, Peter Praeger, MD, and Eric Somberg, MD, founded Dr. Praeger’s in 1994.The company’s products include meat alternative burgers, sausages and nuggets as well as appetizers, snacks, breakfast items and sides. They are sold nationwide in retail outlets and online.
“We are extremely proud of the high growth better-for-you food brand our families have built,” Larry Praeger said. “When our fathers co-founded the company 25 years ago, they were truly innovators. In today's competitive market, our partnership with Vestar will help provide the financial backing, industry relationships and category expertise to continue to build on our momentum.”
New York-based Vestar previously invested in Simple Mills, a cracker, cookie and baking mix brand in the natural and organic channel; Roland Foods, an importer and supplier of specialty foods; Nonni’s, a manufacturer of artisanal cookies and other baked foods; and Presence Marketing, a sales broker exclusively dedicated to representing natural and organic food, beverage and personal care brands.