The creamy Italian ambient sauces category may be in decline but Premier Foods believes it has the answer.

Premier Foods is predicting it will buck the downward trend of the creamy Italian ambient sauces sector with its two latest launches - Loyd Grossman creamy Italian cooking sauces and two pesto variants.

According to Loyd Grossman marketing manager April Biswell, the 1% decline in the market (source: total IRI 52 w/e June 25, 2005/Premier Foods) is due to a lack of premium offerings. The new products are intended to fill the gap.

Biswell says: “The Loyd Grossman creamy Italian range will provide a step change in quality within the ambient creamy sauces market, offering consumers a range of superior quality products with a twist; both of the Loyd Grossman pesto variants are made in Tuscany to an authentic recipe.”

Biswell says the company launched the premium additions in response to the growing popularity of Italian food and an increased demand for authenticity. She adds: “The new ranges were extremely well researched in consumer groups and really offer added value to shoppers who are time-poor but want to enjoy restaurant quality food in their own homes. They are perfect for ‘foodies’ who are prepared to pay that little bit extra for a premium, authentic offering.

“The new range is set apart by unique twists to the recipes you would expect to see in Italian restaurants - for example, Loyd Grossman tomato & mascarpone with vodka.”

The creamy Italian sauces are available in four variants - 400g bechamel sauce for lasagne and 340g carbonara with pancetta retailing at £1.89, and 340g tomato & mascarpone with vodka and 340g porcini mushroom with Amontillado Sherry, both at £1.65.
The pesto market is enjoying good growth at around 15% year on year and is worth around £21m (source: total IRI 52 w/e June 25, 2005/Premier Foods). The new launches are available in green and red, both in 190g and retailing at £1.65. The launch will be backed by extensive trade and consumer PR plus a £3m TV advertising campaign.

Biswell says the launch of Loyd Grossman creamy Italian sauces is expected to create a £1.5m growth opportunity for the category “by enticing consumers to the fixture and driving frequency of purchase”.
The launch of green and red pesto, she says, will drive more value to the sector by encouraging current Loyd Grossman consumers to add these products to their repertoire, and drive new consumers to trade up to these authentic, premium recipes.

The brand is currently worth more than £37m and is the third largest cooking sauces brand in the UK with a 13% growth year on year (source: total IRI 52 w/e June 25, 2005/Premier). The company says the brand is the only one to span all the cooking sauces sectors, including Oriental and Indian. Its Indian sauces are currently growing 20% year on year (source: total IRI 52 w/e June 25, 2005/Premier).

Biswell says: “The launches are testament to Premier Foods’ dedication to driving growth and reinvigorating excitement within the cooking sauces category.”