Chinese firm creates 50 UK jobs

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

Front, with, left to right: George Nobbs, Norfolk County Council, Nicola Barker, NatWest, Katie Whitmore, Lombard, Carl Baker, RS Baker & Sons, John Fuller, South Norfolk Council and New Anglia LEP Food, Drink and Agriculture Sector Group, and Chris Starkie, New Anglia LEP.
Front, with, left to right: George Nobbs, Norfolk County Council, Nicola Barker, NatWest, Katie Whitmore, Lombard, Carl Baker, RS Baker & Sons, John Fuller, South Norfolk Council and New Anglia LEP Food, Drink and Agriculture Sector Group, and Chris Starkie, New Anglia LEP.

Related tags: Finance

Chinese food manufacturer Freshasia will open a new production facility in Little Melton, south Norfolk, creating more than 50 jobs, thanks to securing investment from a number of funders.

The new factory, which was previously a lamb packing plant, was made possible after Freshasia secured a “multi-million pound package” ​from NatWest, as well as an additional £400,000 from New Anglia’s Growing Business Fund and a £200,000 loan from Finance East.

The New Anglia Growing Business Fund support is dependent on a minimum of 40 new jobs being created.

The funding, in conjunction with support and guidance from South Norfolk Council, has enabled the expansion of the business with a 40,000m2​ feet site with cold storage facility and new specialist manufacturing equipment.

Increasing demand

The site will be used to produce dumplings and help Freshasia meet increasing demand for its products, the firm claimed.

Its owner Calvin Lan – otherwise known as Jian Li – said once the expansion was complete the firm would focus on market development and new product development, as well as meeting peaks in trading demands.

“We spent a long time searching for the right premises and although this one will involve a lot of work, it was a food factory before so fundamentally the function and design is right. We also chose this site because of the financial support from the Local Enterprise Partnership,”​ he said.

Freshasia facts

  • Founded 2009
  • Produce microwavable meals
  • Sold in Asian supermarkets in UK

“Due to our production bottleneck, we were struggling to meet the market demand in busy seasons. Without funding from the bank and a confident business plan, it would have been hard to raise the funds ourselves to complete the business expansion.”

Freshasia currently produces Chinese delicacies such as dumplings, steamed buns, dim sum and sliced meat in a factory in Kent.

Feshasia’s decision

Chris Starkie, md of New Anglia LEP said: “Freshasia’s decision to locate their second factory in Norfolk demonstrates that we have the right environment to support growing businesses and attract inward investment.

“Our funding has helped unlock further private finance ensuring the company can compete in Europe and across the world. It also reinforces our credentials as a region which leads in food and drink manufacturing and will act as a powerful magnet to other like-minded businesses.”

Meanwhile, earlier this year, Ming Foods invested £4M in new pancake production facilities​ in Kent, following rising consumer demand for Chinese food.

For the latest jobs in the UK food and drink manufacturing, visit FoodManJobs.

Related topics: Business, East Asia, Industry growth, China

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