forrest artic

Forrest Fresh Foods is pursuing bigger contracts across Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia thanks to a £500k cash injection backed by UK Export Finance (UKEF).

The wholesaler originally had a guarantee under the Export Working Capital Scheme, but this was moved over to UKEF’s General Export Facility in July so the financial support could be used across the business, rather than to service a specific export contract.

It has helped the Rochdale-based wholesaler increase sales by 70%, overcome Covid supply chain disruption, and continue to sell British produce worldwide.

It currently supplies over 5,000 lines of food, drink, confectionery and household products to retail and leisure outlets across the UK and to over 50 countries, including brands such as Cadbury, Robinsons and Walkers.

The business is also planning to increase its headcount by 27% in 2022, as UKEF’s support aims to bolster job prospects in the region.

“Demand for our products has never been so high – and we’ve seen international interest in some of the UK’s most renowned brands rise over the last few years,” said Forrest Fresh Foods MD Chris Craven.

“The UKEF support has been a breath of fresh air in what has been a difficult 12 months to navigate, enabling us to sustain our buying power and continue to price products competitively for our customers.”

Mike Freer MP, minister for exports, said: “There’s a world of opportunity for UK exporters, and global demand for Britain’s best-loved food and drink brands continues to grow at an impressive pace.

“UKEF is committed to helping UK business such as Forrest Fresh Foods to seize this demand, as we aim to reach £1 trillion in exports annually.”

UKEF’s General Export Facility was first available to UK businesses in March 2021 to support exporters through the pandemic. It was designed to provide exporting SMEs access to working capital support to make UKEF’s support more flexible and accessible. Over £120m worth of loans have been issued in the first nine months.