Forrest Fresh Foods secures funding to expand

Date published: 26 February 2019

Rochdale-based Forrest Fresh Foods has received £1.2m in financial support from the Barclays Northern Powerhouse Growth Fund and UK Export Finance to support the continued expansion of the business.

Barclays support has included a £100k term loan to support growth and investment in new racking, a £600k asset finance facility to support the purchase of new HGVs and a £500k export Trade Finance facility.

Forrest Fresh Foods (FFF) is a well-established business that has been trading for over 20 years, previously as a partnership up until 2010. Headquartered at Scotts Industrial Park in Rochdale, FFF is a family run business, formed in 1996 by John and Nichola Forrest.

FFF started life as a fruit and vegetable supplier, then diversified to sell potatoes to fish and chip shops across the North West. As the business grew, they began to include pallets of pop within their customers’ deliveries.

This area of the business grew to such an extent that FFF focused solely on soft drink and confectionery supplies and ultimately became one of the largest independent wholesalers in the country.

This year, their product portfolio grew from soft drinks and confectionary, to include toiletries and household goods, pet care products and groceries with plans to introduce licensed and medical produce. In addition to this, their export service has seen strong growth delivering some of the world’s leading brands to businesses across the globe.

Chris Craven, Managing Director, Forrest Fresh Foods Limited said: “We’ve been growing organically since we started out in 1996 and have worked alongside Barclays for many years. This new funding deal has enabled us to invest in new plant and distribution to support our rapid expansion plans. We’re thrilled that Barclays has been able to support us with very tailored funding solutions for our continued growth plans and to take the business to the next level of our trading ambitions.”

The company employs 46 people and has reported another good trading year with turnover increasing by 28% to £36.46m (2017: £28.54m). FFF also won the International Company of the Year (£25m - £50m turnover) at the North West Business Insider International Trade Awards sponsored by Barclays.

Shamir Patel, Barclays Relationship Director put together the funding package for the deal and said: “Forrest Fresh Foods is a great example of a thriving business that is expanding for the future and contributing to the local economy. The new funding from our Northern Powerhouse fund has enabled the company to invest in critical areas that are needed to support the business’ growth ambitions.”

Isabella Clough, Barclays Trade Finance Director worked with Chris and his team to understand opportunities available to them through growth in export markets. She said: “A year ago Forrest Fresh only supported the UK market and now they are exporting to several countries all over the world, which is a tremendous achievement. The export Trade Finance facility, which was supported by UK Export Finance, was put in place to ensure working capital was not a concern for the business and enabled them to focus on diversifying into new markets and growing their business.”

The £500m Northern Powerhouse Growth Fund was established to inject investment into businesses across the north of England and is intended for SMEs across the Northern Powerhouse region, including: established businesses with ambitious growth plans, start-ups with high growth potential, companies with early-stage equity funding and businesses focusing on innovation, R&D and technology.

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