Peace of mind and the power to grow: Sweet Nutrition and Accelerated PaymentsSweet Nutrition is a dynamic young Canadian food manufacturer whose success is down to its quick responses to market conditions. Invoice financing from Accelerated Payments has let the company capitalise on its recent and most successful pivot – a tasty, soft-baked, gluten-free vegan cookie - and embrace new opportunities for growth.
THE CHALLENGEHealthy eating isn’t a passing fashion, it’s an evolution in the mass market: consumers now understand how nutrition impacts their wellness and longevity and they’re seeking wholesome food choices that still taste great. Sweet Nutrition, a Saskatchewan based start-up first founded in 2018, saw a market opportunity to offer healthy snacks that still had the treat-yourself factor, without being junk food. But scaling the business has come with challenges. Its first big success with consumers was a glazed donut that unfortunately didn’t have the shipping- and shelf-life ruggedness needed for mass distribution. The founders continued formulating new product options and in 2019 hit on a winner: a line of soft-baked, gluten-free, tasty vegan cookies that have become so popular, the company has just struck a deal with a major US distributor, and it’s also expanding in China. With the right product and the right market opportunities, the company also needed the right financing.
“The larger a customer is, the more leeway they often want as regards payment terms,” says Casey Parker, the company’s CEO and co-founder. “If we get a big order, we need to pay upfront for ingredients, labour and packaging, and we may not get paid for 60 days or more. It meant we had to be really conservative with cashflow: spending on things like additional staff or advertising didn’t feel right, because we had to ensure we had the cashflow available to continue operating.” Casey and his partner went to the market for financing options and discovered invoice financing from Accelerated Payments.
- Peter Browning of SME Bancorp recommended Accelerated Payments as an invoice financing partner who could improve Sweet Nutrition’s cashflow.
- Once Sweet Nutrition sends an invoice to a client and it’s been accepted, the invoice is ready to be financed. Accelerated Payments provides up to 80% of the value of the outgoing invoice immediately to Sweet Nutrition, which can be used as working capital.
- The balance payment is made once the client has settled the invoice.
ENTERING INTERNATIONAL MARKETSCasey says the company enjoys a productive business relationship with Accelerated Payments, including a responsive account manager and the benefit of AP’s contacts in Europe and the UK, which has connected Sweet Nutrition with a new UK distributor. The company already sells direct to international territories including Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Norway, and it’s expanding in China, following a deal just signed with a broker in the region who seeks out the best Canadian products for the Chinese market.
“The deals in China and with the US distributor should really kick the business up a level in the next 12 to 24 months,” Casey said. “It’s great to know we have the relationship there with Accelerated Payments: it gives us peace of mind to know we have the option to access that finance.” He says that the speed of access to the invoice finance is a big benefit compared to funding sources like small business loans. There is no application process once its customers have been assessed and approved by Accelerated Payments; Sweet Nutrition just sends in the invoice and the finance is released the same day.
All the elements are coming together now -- the right product, the right financing partners, and the right customers – for Sweet Nutrition to maximise a market opportunity that’s only set to get larger. “People want to live longer and look better, they don’t want to put sugar into their bodies -- or any of the other potentially harmful ingredients from the everyday snacks they grew up eating,” Casey said. “They’re realising that there are a lot more options out there, and that they don’t have to sacrifice taste in order to treat themselves.”
BENEFITS FOR SWEET NUTRITION AT A GLANCE
- Peace of mind from the ability to access finance rapidly once invoices are approved
- Improved cashflow is allowing the company to expand with confidence in international markets, including major new distribution deals
- Removes barriers to growth and frees the company to invest in staff, marketing and product development
“The deals in China and with the US distributor should really kick the business up a level in the next 12 to 24 months. It’s great to know we have the relationship there with Accelerated Payments: it gives us peace of mind to know we have the option to access that finance.”