Research from the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA) has revealed that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are forced to wait for 55 days for invoices to be paid.
The ABFA found that the delays to companies with an annual turnover under £25m have increased by 4% in the last year.
The ABFA has raised concern for smaller manufacturers which have less bargaining power than their larger rivals, and face continues pressure from supermarket price wars. It is predicted that this situation could worsen following Brexit as the value of sterling raises import costs.
Last year, the Enterprise Bill was passed and a Small Business Commissioner was established to help SMEs to stand up to the competition.
Jeff Longhurst, chief of the ABFA, said: "Payment delays remain a very real problem for SME food producers, despite government efforts to counter the issue.
Larger competitors are often more willing or able to place pressure on suppliers to abide by payment terms, whilst the value which many SMEs place on repeat business holds them back from doing so.
"Payment delays can present a real threat to these businesses- they place pressure on cashflow and can end up significantly restricting their capacity to expand order books. Even when a business is thriving, it can take just a few unpaid invoices to create a major problem.
"There are, however, some steps business can take to protect cashflow. Asset based or Invoice financing, for instance, enables firms to borrow against the value of their invoices before payment is received, or assets, freeing up funds to mitigate late payment. Careful financial planning can be key."
The Asset Based Finance Association represents the asset based finance industry in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.