A maker of air-dried fruit and vegetable crisps is planning a rapid expansion with the help of a new £150,000 funding package from Lloyds Bank.
Single mother Nimisha Raja, who launched Nim’s Fruit Crisps in 2012, is targeting new markets in the US, the Continent and Australia, and is developing new lines, including seasonal products such as fig and orange crisps for Christmas.
The firm’s expansion comes as a report from Lloyds Bank last week revealed food and drink companies in England and Wales have raised their growth forecasts and plan to create more than 75,000 new jobs over the next five years, despite uncertainty since the EU referendum vote.
The third annual study of the sector found that businesses across the industry forecast 19 per cent growth in the next five years, up from 16 per cent in 2015. Though 52 per cent said the build up to the referendum had had a negative impact on business, 44 per cent said planned investment in their firm had risen since the vote.
Raja said: ‘I used to run a coffee shop, so I knew nothing about food production, let alone setting up a factory. But there is an increasing market for healthy snacks. As a mother I was looking for brands I could trust and felt I couldn’t find that.
‘After about a year of research I started buying small bits of equipment. I moved on to converting my garage into a kitchen to hand-packing products, going to local shops and designing the branding. I realised early on that this would only work as a volume business.’