UK fresh fruit ingredients supplier J O Sims has announced it has appointed a new supplier, South African produce exporter Westfalia.

Duiwelskloof-based Westfalia is a specialist exporter of premium produce to the UK, Europe, USA and the Far and Middle East. J O Sims said access to Westfalia's dried fruit portfolio will allow it to meet increasing customer demand in the UK for tropical ingredients.

"UK sales of tropical and exotic fruits have soared in recent years. In fact, the sector saw a 63% increase from 1997 to 2001. With this trend in mind, we identified a need for a new supplier to service the UK market. Westfalia's expansive tropical product offering and excellent manufacturing standards will equip us to respond to requests from our customers for exotic fruit ingredients," said Lee Doleman, general manager of ingredients.

J O Sims is one of the UK's leading food ingredient suppliers and fresh produce importers and growers. The company supplies the bakery, dairy, confectionery and food processing sectors. Customers include supermarkets, fresh produce markets and food manufacturers.