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Levi Roots appeared in the Den in 2007 asking for £50,000 for a 20 percent stake in the homemade sauce. Despite the lack of faith from Duncan Bannatyne, Reggae Reggae sauce is now sold worldwide and is now worth more than £30million.
As the hit BBC show, Dragons’ Den returns for its 20th series, it may have the public wondering, have any of the ingenious and inventive ideas from the reality television program ever been a success story?
Reggae singer and chef Levi Roots pitched his spicy Reggae Reggae Sauce to the Dragons’ and successfully managed to secure £50,000 to manufacture his product.
At the time, Duncan dismissed the pitch, and said: “There’s not business in this. I’m not going to invest. I’m out.”
Theo and Deborah Meaden also decided they would not commit to the sauce.
Deborah said: “It’s not going to be on a big enough scale for me, so I’m out.”
Peter Jones and Richard both expressed interest in the sauce. They both offered him half of the money with 20 percent each.
This meant Levi would get the whole £50,000 for 40 percent equity.
Hesitantly, Levi accepted the offer, and said: “The deal is not ideal for me but at the same time, it will do fantastic for the sauce so I will accept it gladly.”
Reggae Reggae Sauce is available in all major UK supermarkets, and according to Sainsbury’s, it even outsells Heinz Tomato Ketchup.
A follow-up episode of Dragons’ Den, aired in 2007 revealed that Sainsbury’s had expected the sauce to sell 50,000 bottles in its first year but instead it sold 40,000-50,000 bottles per week.
Reggae Reggae Sauce is a hot to mild jerk BBQ sauce which aimed to be able to replace tomato ketchup and hot pepper sauce.
Reggae Reggae sauces are now stocked in all major UK supermarkets, taking London-based Roots’ worth to an estimated £30 million according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
Roots has not just stopped at sauces, with an album, BBC cooking show, cookbooks, Caribbean-inspired food festival, and plans to launch a chain of restaurants, the entrepreneur has found the most success from the Den.
Peter Jones remains a shareholder and advocate for the brand, and claimed: “It’s one of my most successful investments from the show.”
When speaking about his stand out moments on the show to BBC, Peter Jones said: “When I think of my favourite moments obviously I go back to Levi Roots and his Reggae Reggae sauce it has been an outstanding success and it has been a joy to see his business grow and develop over the years.
“A major feature film telling Levi’s rags to riches story is now in development which is very exciting.”
Before appearing in the Den, Levi had been selling Reggae Reggae sauce at Notting Hill Carnival for 15 years.
He explained on the show that in 2006, he sold 2,500 bottles of the sauce at £1.49 per bottle. This amounted to a turnover of approximately £4,000.
Levi Roots’ ‘Reggae Reggae’ sauce was based on an old family recipe, beginning back in 1970s Jamaica where Levi Root’s grandmother taught the now Brixton-based chef the art of cooking.
The sauce is now readily available nationwide and has even been stocked by fast-food chains such as KFC, Subway and Domino’s Pizza, as well as at eateries such as Hungry Horse and Slug & Lettuce.
Now with a personal net worth of approximately £30,000. Commenting on the Reggae Reggae Sauce success, experts at Beway said: “It is safe to say that Levi Roots is one of the most successful candidates ever to appear on Dragons’ Den.
“The entrepreneur has branched his product range out into even more delicious sauces, as well as soft drinks and cakes.
“He has also released cookbooks and raised money for charity with chart-placing singles.”
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