Southern Salads has started to supply its first UK grocery retailer.

The Kent-based grower, which previously only supplied ready-prepared leafy salads, fruit, vegetables and stir-fries to fast food outlets and restaurants, is supplying Spar with 14 fresh produce lines

"The partnership with Spar will bring us to the forefront of the retail industry, at a time when consumers are appreciating the ­benefits of healthy eating more than ever," said operations director, Andrew Boakes.

Southern Salads is now supplying Spars nationwide with ranges including Italian Style, Four Seasons and Crisp and Crunchy salads, as well as new potatoes and carrot batons.

The company sources its fresh produce from the UK and abroad, and operates joint venture plants in Poland and Belgium.

Southern Salads plans to more than double its turnover to £50m by 2010. It will be expanding its Tonbridge plant by 100,000 sq ft to boost capacity.