"We are no longer a ‘meat and two veg’ country"

UK salad grower expands with £800,000 finance deal

A West Yorkshire horticultural business has secured a funding package to help it expand. Cleckheaton-based WS Bentley incorporating the brand B Sow Healthy is a producer of salad cress, pea shoots, and microgreens. The business employs 50 staff.

To help it adapt and improve its infrastructure, Virgin Money has arranged a 5-year CIBL of £800,000 to help finance the £1.85m capital expenditure costs of fitting out new glasshouses and expanding its packing capacity.

Having run the enterprise since 1996, Jan Bentley, the managing director, has helped the business go from selling directly to one UK supermarket to supplying seven of the country’s supermarkets. All the company’s produce is grown year-round in Yorkshire, soil-free, hydroponically, with no pesticides and herbicides used.

Jan Bentley said: “Continually assessing the market and its fluctuations have always been integral to our business. “I was really keen to expand and diversify our product range, and most recently identified pea shoots and microgreens as real gaps in the market which we could capitalize on using our existing facilities and expertise.”

This is not the first time Virgin Money has supported the firm. In 2020 it provided a £500,000 fully-amortizing five-year loan to cover costs of equipping a new glasshouse, a new annex, and the expansion of existing glass space.

Darren Smith, the business’s relationship manager at Virgin Money, said: “Bentley’s has worked really hard to grow their enterprise by responding to market trends and the associated demand for healthy food. “We are no longer a ‘meat and two veg’ country, as their sales are showing, and it has been really exciting to help Jan strengthen and expand the business to meet the needs of today’s health-conscious consumers.”

Read the complete article at www.thebusinessdesk.com.


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