Veetee is extending beyond rice and curries with a range of microwaveable pasta.

The Veetee Dine In ambient pasta will launch into Asda this month in six variants: Fusilli, Tomato & Herb, Garlic & Herb, Spicy Sundried Tomato, Cracked Black Pepper & Garlic, and Peri Peri (rsp: £1.69/250g). Each pack provides an individual serve and can be microwaved in two minutes.

The launch was designed to open up the category of microwaveable pasta and extend its usage - as a meal, a side dish or to accompany other ingredients or pasta sauce, said Veetee marketing executive Emma Pozzetti. “While many consumers agree that cooking pasta is relatively easy in comparison to cooking rice, for example, our new range provides a convenient option while delivering on flavour and quality.”

The range will go up against ambient pasta products launched by Mars and Heinz in summer 2011. Mars’ Dolmio PastaVita ambient snack pots (rsp: £1.99/300g) target consumers looking for a healthy, convenient meal while Heinz went after the lunchtime market with microwaveable pasta pouches (rsp: £1.39/250g).

Convenience has been a key focus for Veetee this year, prompting it to launch an e-shop in June that enables consumers to purchase its Dine In microwaveable rice products and curry pouches online.

Sales of Veetee have grown 14.1% over the past year to £18.1m, while volumes have increased 18.3% [SymphonyIRI 52 w/e 19 May 2012].