WOBURN, Mass., Oct. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Verde Farms, the pioneer and leading U.S. provider of 100% grass-fed, 100% pasture-raised, organic beef for retail, club, and foodservice, announces the addition of Johnsonville CEO Nick Meriggioli to its board of directors. Bringing deep expertise in CPG leadership, Meriggioli joins Verde Founder & CEO Dana Ehrlich, Co-Founder Pablo Garbarino, and Manna Tree Partners' Co-Founder & COO Brent Drever in a move to further propel brand strength and expansion.
Meriggioli's appointment to the board follows an extraordinary growth year for Verde, including a $15M minority investment from Manna Tree Partners, and 31% increase in YOY sales, the company's largest to date. Verde added new distribution partners throughout Q2 and Q3, including Costco, Sam's Club, Albertsons, and Ahold, while expanding its processing capabilities at Mullica Hill to include a second production line. This year, Verde has also continued to showcase its innovation leadership with its new Simply! sous vide product line made with simple ingredients, on-trend flavors, and beef raised with respect for the animal and planet.
Since 2015, Meriggioli has served as CEO of Johnsonville, LLC, the nation's No. 1 sausage brand, following more than 20 years working at Kraft Foods in executive and senior marketing positions. He led Kraft's Oscar Mayer business unit, including well-known brands like Lunchables, Claussen Pickles and Boca Meat Alternatives, and his team's accomplishments included the launch of Oscar Mayer Selects, a better-for-you portfolio featuring no artificial preservatives.
"I admire Verde's passion for producing great-tasting, healthy and sustainable meats," said Meriggioli. "I look forward to partnering with Dana, Pablo and Brent, sharing my experience to support the acceleration of Verde's brand and product portfolio growth."
"In addition to Nick's CPG expertise and career successes, he was known to foster a people-first culture in his leadership roles, a focus that aligns well with our brand approach," added Ehrlich. "Exceptional customer service and consumer experience have been a priority for the Verde team since day one, and our partner relationships are a testament to that."
Adding to the momentum of Meriggioli's appointment, Verde has also secured new funding from minority investors including Johnsonville Holdings and NHL player Alex Biega, completing its Series A and bringing total investment to date to $25M.
"It's a powerful strategy to pair the wisdom of long-established and successful food companies like Johnsonville with newer firms like Verde," said Manna Tree Partners' Chief Investment Officer Ross Iverson. "Consumers will benefit through the high-quality products that innovative thinking produces."
In addition to Meriggioli, a fifth at-large board member will be added at a later date.
About Verde Farms
A pioneer in the grass-fed beef movement, Verde Farms was founded in 2005 with a mission to bring the taste and benefits of grass-fed beef to everyone. Today Verde is the leading provider of 100% grass-fed and 100% pasture-raised, organic beef for both retail and food service customers in the US. Verde Farms partners with a global network of family farmers who share the company's passion for high quality and exceptionally-tasting beef raised with respect for animal welfare where feedlots and growth hormones are never part of the picture. To learn more about Verde Farms, visit us at VerdeFarms.com, or on Facebook or Instagram.
About Johnsonville, LLC
Wisconsin-based Johnsonville is the No. 1 national sausage brand, featuring: brats, Italian sausage, smoke-cooked links, breakfast sausage, summer sausage, and meatballs. Johnsonville products are served in more than 45 countries and in more than 140 professional, college and semi-pro sports stadiums throughout the U.S. Johnsonville employs approximately 3,000 members globally. Founded in 1945 by the late Ralph F. and Alice Stayer, the privately held company remains family owned today. For additional information, visit www.johnsonville.com.
About Manna Tree Partners
Manna Tree is a Vail, CO-based investment firm committed to the future of human health, powered by food. We innovate life's supply chain connecting systems, food, and health by relying on authentic partnerships, operational discipline, and world-class research. Fund I closed in March 2020 at $141.5M with 131 investors from 18 countries, including private wealth managers, corporate venture partners, family offices, and high net worth individuals. Women and Next-Gen investors represent 45% of the investors in Fund I. Four investments have been made to date: Verde Farms, MycoTechnology, Nutriati, and Vital Farms. www.mannatreepartners.com
SOURCE Verde Farms