US dried fruit co-operative Sunsweet Growers has signed a deal to process the prune products of Shoei USA.

As part of the agreement, the two companies will build a "specially enclosed" processing area to bring together Sunsweet's prune-pitting system and Shoei's preservative-free process to produce products for the Japanese market.

"Our preservative-free process replaces traditional batch retort processes with a continuous process that achieves the highest possible degree of food safety, sanitation and fresh prune flavour," Shoei chairman and MD Don Soetaert said.

Sunsweet president and CEO Arthur Driscoll added: "The Japanese market is especially appreciative of our superior quality and has already made Sunsweet a favourite in that market."