Unilever is to sell off the Ragu pasta sauce brand in the UK and is also looking to offload ambient stablemate Chicken Tonight.

The fmcg giant will retain the Ragu international business but is searching for trade or private equity buyers in the UK.

The combined sale could net Unilever up to £40m, according to the Financial Times.

“We are assessing strategic options for Chicken Tonight and Ragu in the UK and Ireland,” Unilever confirmed in a statement. “We regularly evaluate the performance of our brands in the marketplace and will consider all options when reviewing their future.”

The move comes against a backdrop of sliding sales for Chicken Tonight, which Unilever acquired when it snapped up the sauce brand’s parent Knorr a decade ago.

Despite the slow sales, Chicken Tonight remains well known for its jingle and ‘chicken wing’ dance.

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Focus On Cooking Sauces (13 February 2010)