Dried fruit manufacturer Whitworths has been sold in a deal worth £86m.

Private equity firm European Capital appointed Will Carter as the company’s new boss after it bought Whitworths from another private equity firm, Gresham. Carter was previously MD of the merged KP and McVitie’s businesses in the UK.

"Whitworths is playing a key role in meeting consumer desire and demand for more healthy snacking alternatives," he said. "We are also seeing a resurgence in home baking - another of Whitworths’ core category strengths."

The Whitworths’ senior team under Carter remains unchanged, although group chief executive David Pratt and group finance director Gary Vicary will leave the company.

"Whitworths’ leading position affords it tremendous growth opportunities in a market driven by the ongoing shift of consumer behavior toward healthier food products, especially snacks," said Alex Morey, European Capital director. "Whitworths is well placed to enhance growth and value significantly through the introduction of additional branded healthy snacking products."

Whitworths, is based in Wellingborough, Northants.