Andy Reichgut has taken the helm as chief executive officer of Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods, the Elmwood Park, New Jersey, USA-based company that specializes in making and marketing a wide range of plant-based frozen food products. Following the appointment, announced on July 26, former CEO Larry Praeger has moved into a special advisory role and remains an active member of the board of directors.
The Praeger and Somberg families will retain their ownership stake in the company, which is a portfolio holding of New York City-headquartered Vestar Capital Partners. The private equity firm acquired majority a majority position in Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods during January of 2021.
“Andy is a smart, thoughtful, innovative and resourceful business leader with a deep appreciation for strengthening organizational capability, and a strong track record of building brands and businesses,” said Jeffrey Ansell, Dr. Praeger’s chairman and Vestar’s strategic executive advisor. “I’m excited to work with him again, and am confident his vast packaged foods experience, including plant-based and better-for-you brands, will set him up for success at Dr. Praeger’s.
Ansel added: “I’d also like to sincerely thank Larry for his incredible vision and passion for the brand, which experienced transformative growth under his leadership. We look forward to his continued contributions.”
Reichgut is a veteran CPG executive who brings more than 25 years of experience from the packaged food industry. He was most recently general manager for Violife, a vegan cheese company owned by Upfield. Prior to that Reichgut was executive vice president at New Classic Cooking, where he led the Veggies Made Great unit. Under his leadership, the business experienced significant growth fueled by the repositioning of the brand and strong innovation. Reichgut’s resume also includes working with Pinnacle Foods, Mars and Reckitt Benckiser.
“Dr. Praeger’s is a brand I have admired for many years and am excited and honored to join the organization as its ceo,” said Reichgut. “At a time when consumers are searching for healthier and more environmentally friendly foods, it is positioned extraordinarily well to leverage these tailwinds.”
“I’m excited to welcome Andy to Dr. Praeger’s. His vision, coupled with a phenomenal team who care so deeply for our brand, will continue to bring delicious and healthy plant-based food for generations to come,” said Larry Praeger. “When my father put his name on a veggie burger 26 years ago, he could not have predicted the plant-based revolution that was to come. I am so proud, as I know he would be, of the part Dr. Praeger’s has played in bringing delicious, nutrient-dense food to homes all over the country.”
Founded by two heart surgeons determined to make healthy food easily accessible, Dr. Praeger’s is a leader in the all-natural, vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and kosher frozen food categories and has an extensive line of products including Veggie Burgers, Bowls, Cakes, Puffs, Hash Browns, Littles for kids and sustainable seafood items.