An entrepreneur at the heart of a revolution in healthy fruit-based snacks has joined the board of East Malling Trust, the charity dedicated to promoting horticultural research.
Nimisha Raja is the driving force behind Nim’s Fruit Crisps, the UK’s only manufacturer of air-dried fruit and vegetable crisps. She will bring her industry knowledge to help identify opportunities for the UK’s fruit research sector and the strengthening of supply chains for fruit growers and food and drink manufacturers.
Nim’s Fruit Crisps, which was presented with the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2020, is viewed as one of the food sector’s most exciting disruptor brands. The company has tapped into the demand for an alternative to unhealthy snacks that currently dominate the eating habits of adults and children in the UK.
The company employs 25 people at its purpose-built factory in Sittingbourne, where it produces a range of fruit and vegetable crisps, edible teas, infusions and ingredients. The firm’s products can be found on the shelves of UK supermarkets, in Marks & Spencer and are used by the NHS, British Airways, Eurostar and The Craft Gin Club.
Oliver Doubleday, chairman of East Malling Trust, said: “The Trust has always focused on supporting research that promotes the commercial success of growers. Nimisha’s arrival will help us strengthen the connection between research and growing to secure opportunities for manufacturers to close the loop and bring new fruit-based products to the market.
“East Malling is synonymous with advances in soft and top-fruit production, and we are delighted to have Nimisha join the board to help us continue our journey.”
Raja added: “Advancing research in horticulture is vital for the UK, especially for companies who manufacture and sell fruit and plant-based products.
“Collaboration and more R&D focused towards manufacturers processing fruit could be a new avenue for EMR with the aim that it is turned into commercial benefits for the Trust and its partners at NIAB EMR, as well as for the country’s domestic food manufacturing sector.
“As a trustee I look forward to being a voice for innovative companies using UK-grown fruit and connecting them to future horticultural research supported by East Malling Trust.”