Ireland-based Total Produce has moved to tap into growing domestic demand for whole foods with the acquisition of distribution firm Wholefoods Wholesale.

Total Produce, spun off and formed earlier this year from the Fyffes fruit business, said today (30 July) that it had bought a controlling stake in Wholefoods.

Total Produce bought a 92% stake in Wholefoods, the leading distributor to independent health food stores in Ireland, for an undisclosed sum.

A spokesman for Total Produce said growing demand for healthier foods in Ireland had prompted the company to move for Wholefoods.

“Wholefoods is quite a sizeable business, with turnover of some EUR18m (US$24.6m). A lot of other companies have invested in the sector and bought independent distributors,” the spokesman told just-food.

The spokesman declined to reveal financial details. He said Total Produce could look to buy the remaining 8% of shares at a later date.

Total Produce is Europe’s largest fresh produce provider with annual sales of around EUR2bn and operations in 13 markets.