Indian food company Jain Irrigation Systems has acquired an 80% stake in Sleaford Quality Foods, a UK supplier of dehydrated fruits and vegetables, spices and soup mixes.

"Sleaford gives us additional value in terms of forward integration," Anil Jain, MD of Mumbai-based Jain Irrigation told just-food. "Their ability to go through retailers as well as to the large food companies allows us on a sustained basis to continue to add more product lines in future”.

Jain Irrigation has been exporting more than 50% of its production of fruit pulp and concentrate to Coca-Cola and Unilever worldwide but not to the UK.

With this deal, said Jain, the Indian company could sell existing products such as mango pulp to the UK and add new products such as dried fruits.

Jain added that Sleaford's existing retail brand, their "great location in terms of distribution" and expertise helped seal the deal, struck for an undisclosed sum.

The company has an option for acquiring the remaining 20% stake in Sleaford.