A new, high-speed production system that eliminates the need for drying salads and enhances shelf life and appearance has been commissioned by Lancashire-based Salads to Go, which supplies The Co-operative Group with salad.

A vacuum and high-frequency infra-red elements are used to evaporate water molecules, leaving leaves intact and undamaged.

Salads to Go said the new technology, STIR, was the first of its kind in the UK. Developed in the Netherlands, it would form a major part of a new £4m Salads to Go facility due this month, said the company: "This line gives us the capacity to more than double turnover."