One of Kent’s leading food manufacturers received a major royal seal of approval at the weekend.
Nimisha Raja, founder of Nim’s Fruit Crisps in Sittingbourne, was awarded an MBE in King Charles’ first ever birthday honours for her services to business and enterprise.
The former coffee shop owner sold her company to start the UK’s first air dried fruit crisp manufacturer in 2016 and has seen it become a huge success, supplying its growing range of products to high street retailers, pubs and bars, Eurotunnel, British Airways and, more recently, to ‘Pret A Manger’, Zizzi and Wagamama restaurants.
She has seen her fledgling firm grow considerably, processing over 1000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables every year. This expansion has seen her create up to 25 jobs at her factory on the Trinity Trading Estate in Sittingbourne.
“When I made the decision to start Nim’s in 2016 I never thought I would get royal recognition for what we’ve achieved,” explained Nimisha, who also received a MP Heroes Award last year.
“Being awarded the MBE for my contribution to business and enterprise is an amazing and most unexpected honour. It is testament to the work of my team, who have been with me throughout the journey, supporting our efforts in helping to transform the world’s snacking and drinks garnish market and changing the mindset of people to try healthier and more sustainable options.”
“The MBE will hopefully put the brand in the spotlight for all the right reasons and help us reach a wider customer base.”
Nimisha is using her experience and knowledge of retail and food manufacturing to support other local businesses.
She is currently part of the Growing Kent and Medway Mentorship and Food Accelerator programmes that help fledging companies to develop, whilst also sitting on the board of the East Malling Trust.
The latter has seen her contribute to the organisation’s desire to advance science to boost horticultural and other plant-based disciplines.
Nimisha went on to add:
“We have some really exciting food businesses in the UK, but we need to make sure they have access to the support they need to succeed.”
“If I can pass on some of the lessons I learned the hard way and it makes them more successful then that’s superb. Fermenti is one of the firms I’ve been mentoring in the hope that I’m able to make a difference to the founder Marie and her incredibly innovative range of fermented, gut friendly snacks.
“I look forward to continuing to make a positive impact for a sector of business that is incredibly important to the UK.”
For further information, please visit www.nimsfruitcrisps.com