Premier Foods is taking its Bisto brand into the stock pots category - just as rival Knorr revamps its own stock pots range.

Bisto is being extended into stock for the first time with the launch of ‘premium and affordable’ Bisto Stock Melts in chicken, beef and vegetable flavours.

The Bisto range (rsp: £1.89 for six pots) rolls out in mid-August and will be up against products such as Tesco’s recently launched own-label eight-packs (rsp: £1.99) and Knorr Stock Pots (rsp: £2.19 for eight/£1.30 for four).

Premier said the pack size of Stock Melts had been tailored to the economic environment.

“Stock represents a credible short-cut for home cooking and there is a clear opportunity to grow the category,” said innovation controller Libby Newcombe.

Premier’s experience in the stock category with its Oxo brand, combined with Bisto’s heritage in gravy, provided a strong launchpad for Bisto Stock Melts to add incremental growth, she added.

Premier is supporting the launch with a £3m marketing campaign kicking off in September including TV, press, in-store and online activity.

Meanwhile, Unilever announced it is spending £2.3m marketing its Knorr Stock Pots in 2012, and would be launching a new TV advert. It has just begun rolling out eight-packs of Stock Pots in a new vertical format and extended the Rich Beef variant into four-packs (rsp: £1.43).

It said Stock Pots had helped the stock category grow 28% in value since their launch in 2008 [SymphonyIRI 2008 vs MAT 12 May 2012].