The six-figure funding package will help the Suffolk-based sauce maker create 10 new jobs over the next 12 months and increase its annual turnover by 25% to £8.75m. Stokes has also extended its existing production line to meet growing demand and has invested in new machinery – including a steam cooking system, labelling machine and a capping machine.
It has also expanded its existing product range with a new reduced-sugar variant of its sauces, as well as recyclable ‘squeezy’ bottles.
Stokes commercial finance director Chris Reeves said: “The new recyclable ‘squeezy’ bottles have been very well received, tapping into the current customer demand for convenience. This range was made possible due to our new processing plant, which has doubled our capacity by improving efficiency and production, as well as helping us add new flavours to our product range.
“With the financing options provided by Lloyds Bank, we had the financial backing we needed to be able to invest in the specialist machines as quickly as possible, which, in turn, has given us a solid platform for growth over the next 12 months.”
Stokes manufactures condiments – including ketchup, chutney and jam – for major brands in more than 50 countries worldwide, including Waitrose and Sainsbury’s in the UK. More than 15% of its sales are made overseas. Its ‘squeezy’ range of sauces launched in foodservice establishments last month.
Jonathan Hirst, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, added: “Stokes Sauces is an excellent local brand with growing popularity. The business is flying the flag for the East of England both nationally and internationally, and the coming months look to be a very exciting time for the team.”
Meanwhile, in other investment news, Scottish dairy producer McQueens has purchased the former Müller factory in East Kilbride as part of a multi-million pound expansion plan that includes 100 new jobs in two years.