Soleco UK, which owns the Florette brand, has acquired Salads To Go in a move that gives the producer a major presence in both branded and own-label salad production.

The deal this week brings French-owned Soleco UK's turnover up to £75m and gives it a 20% share of the UK prepared salad category. Salads to Go has a £30m turnover and supplies 700,000 packs of produce each week.

The two businesses will together cover branded, own-label and foodservice products, operating as separate businesses from Soleco's base in Lichfield and Salads To Go's home in Skelmersdale. Salads To Go MD Stephen Rogers and commercial director Julie Bolton would remain with the company, said Soleco, adding it was "very much business as usual" for employees of both businesses.

"Prepared salads has become a mature category, and bringing together Soleco UK and Salads To Go will help the continued development of both companies at the heart of the category," said Soleco UK MD Mark Newton. "Salads To Go provides a very complementary operation to Soleco UK, whose Florette brand is well established."

The deal would give Soleco more buying power and the opportunity to develop more new lines, analysts said. "Salads To Go's management has been right on the money over the past few years in terms of growth trends," said one analyst. "It has had 10-20% growth every year, growing its presence in foodservice before moving into retail and has a good spread of customers. This is a big transaction for Soleco."

Salads To Go also had some of the best new production technology on its sites, he added.