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.
Source: Verde Farms