Thousands of packets of healthy treats are to be produced at a new factory every week after an investment of more than £300,000.
The new Nim’s Fruit Crisps site in Tribune Drive, on the Trinity Trading Estate in Sittingbourne, is the brainchild of Nimisha Raja.
Nim’s makes air-dried fruit crisps from apple, kiwi, mango, melon, pear, pineapple, orange and strawberry – with plum, watermelon and broccoli in development.
Fruit washers, slicers, peelers, a state-of-the-art drying machine and packaging facilities have been put in place and eight people are being recruited.
“The reasons I chose Sittingbourne were many, not least its proximity to London…” – Nimisha Raja, Nim’s Fruit Crisps
The move to Sittingbourne followed an 18-month search for the right premises.
Nimisha said: “I never thought this day would come, but it’s great to know that we have full control of our production, quality and distribution.
“The reasons I chose Sittingbourne were many, not least its proximity to London.
“Trinity Trading Estate in particular is in a great location with access to many complementary businesses that I can deal with, including packaging companies, cleaning material suppliers, catering suppliers etc.
“Kent in general was chosen because of the abundance of fruit farms which satisfies my aim of using as much British fruit as I can.”
Nimisha, a former coffee shop owner, will launch the fruit crisps factory this week.
Her three-year business plan aims for a £3 million turnover and will involve recruiting seven more staff, including two apprentices.
The Business Growth Service, a government-backed scheme, worked with Nimisha on the factory’s layout and funding a specialist consultant to identify the right equipment.
It also advised on staffing and will be giving marketing advice.
Nimisha said: “Going from running a coffee shop to setting up your own factory is quite a daunting prospect.
“It was great having experts who I could regularly turn to, in order to sanity-check my decisions, ask about manufacturing processes and ensure we complied with all food production requirements.
“This is exactly what the BGS did for us and we are now in the position to manufacture more than 40,000 packets of fruit crisps every week and the ability to more than double that figure.
“Importantly, I get to realise my dream of offering children and adults a healthy alternative snack that tastes great and is actually good for you.”