Rubicon founder invests in frozen food tech firm

Published on
August 24, 2017

Brian Wynn, the founder of Rubicon Resources, has invested some of the money he earned by selling Rubicon to High Liner Foods in May in a fast-growing frozen food technology firm.

Wynn has invested an undisclosed amount in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.-based Cadence Gourmet, which utilizes an advanced liquid nitrogen-based freezing process “to create delicious frozen food that is ready to eat in about 10 minutes,” according to a statement from the company. Cadence already has contracts to supply numerous U.S. restaurant chains and supermarket chains, including Kroger. As a result of his investment, Wynn has been appointed chairman of the board at Cadence.

Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, Canada-based High Liner Foods completed its acquisition of Rubicon – a shrimp importer and distributor in Culver City, California – in late May, for USD 107 million (EUR 98 million). Neither High Liner or Rubicon has publicly said whether either will try to use the freezing technology for their own frozen seafood products. Rubicon and Cadence did not return calls from SeafoodSource.

High Liner’s leading retail brands include Sea Cuisine, High Liner, and Fisher Boy, and it is a major provider of private label, value-added seafood to the foodservice industry in North America.

In a statement from Cadence Gourmet, Wynn said the potential of the technology is “enormous.”

“I was initially skeptical of frozen food. But after tasting the cuisine and seeing the technology in person, I was convinced [of] its potential,” Wynn said. “Of course, the biggest litmus test was that my wife, our children, and our friends have all fallen in love with the recipes. Everyone is shocked that such high-quality food can also be so easy to make.”

Cadence Gourmet began in the foodservice industry, helping national restaurant chains with improving food consistency across locations. 

“Cadence Gourmet team began replacing the most problematic food items with consistently better-tasting frozen alternatives,” the company said. “Leveraging an advanced ‘enrobing’ process, the team batched sauces, spices, and ingredients, before using liquid nitrogen to flash freeze the food; this led to a truly fresh, frozen product. No longer needing to make each dish from scratch, restaurant locations could simply heat and serve the food in a matter of minutes,” the company said.

Next, Cadence Gourmet began servicing supermarket chains. 

“But, instead of replicating products for foodservice companies, the Cadence Gourmet team introduced its own signature dishes, ranging from mango jerk chicken and red miso short ribs to a decadent lobster mac and cheese, on par with high-end steakhouses,” the company said.

Main and Vine, a fresh and local concept from Kroger, was the first chain to carry Cadence’s frozen entrees and side dishes. Kroger carries the company’s entrees and side dishes in its “Easy For You!” program, located in the meat and seafood area of select grocery stores.

Cadence has since expanded to 50 different stores across several states.

“Since the various entrees and sides can be eaten on their own or used as building blocks to construct a more elaborate meal, shoppers like to try out different combinations,” Cadence CEO David Wells said. “But, unlike meal kits which perish quickly, our food can be cooked right after you buy it or sit in your freezer for months until you’re ready to eat. It’s like the TV dinner for the Netflix world.”

Wells said Wynn’s investment in his firm will help it expand in the retail sector.

“We have long felt that American households would benefit from the caliber of food that our restaurant clients enjoy,” Wells said. “Brian’s investment and involvement has opened up new growth avenues, especially in retail. He has been instrumental in rolling out to grocery stores across the U.S.”

Contributing Editor

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