Under his leadership, sales at Produce World have more than tripled.
Chief executive William Burgess said: "Paul has been an outstanding chairman, supporting me and my executive team through some very challenging and exciting times. He leaves the business in great shape. Whilst the first half of 2010 was a particularly difficult trading period, we are very confident about the year ahead."
Produce World is now searching for Wilkinson's successor with the support of global executive search firm Boyden. He leaves in the autumn.
Wilkinson, who chairs Food Manufacture's annual business leaders' round table debates and heads the judging panel at the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards, sits on the board of several food companies including sugar puffs maker Big Bear, Thorntons, Fuerst Day Lawson and Fengrain.