Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods’ founder takes special adviser role; CPG exec appointed as CEO

Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods on Tuesday said consumer packaged goods executive Andy Reichgut was appointed CEO, effective immediately.

Founder Larry Praeger has moved into a special adviser role and will remain an active board member of the Elmwood Park-based company. The Praeger and Somberg families will retain their ownership stake in the company, which is a portfolio company of Vestar Capital Partners.

“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,” Jeffrey Ansell, Dr. Praeger’s chairman and Vestar strategic executive adviser, stated. “I’m excited to work with Andy again, and I’m confident his vast packaged foods experience, including plant-based and better-for-you brands, will set him up for success at Dr. Praeger’s. 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 as a special advisor and active board member.”

Reichgut is a long-time 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 business. Under his leadership, the business experienced significant growth fueled by the repositioning of the brand and strong innovation. Reichgut also has decades of brand management and innovation experience working with leading CPG brands at 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,” Reichgut stated. “At a time when consumers are searching for healthier and more environmentally friendly foods, Dr. Praeger’s is positioned extraordinarily well to leverage these tailwinds. I look forward to working with the company’s strong leadership team along with our partners at Vestar to fulfill the promise of this business.”

“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,” Praeger stated. “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. Dr. Praeger’s has truly been able to meet the moment, and I’m confident it will continue to do so in this exciting next chapter.”