Cider and vinegar-maker Aspall has launched a campaign to overcome consumer '"fears" about vinegar and make it as popular as olive oil.

Aspall, which produces more than half of the UK's £22m speciality vinegar including cider and balsamic vinegar said it wanted to spearhead a category revival that would double its rate of growth to more than 9% next year.

Declining sales of malt vinegar and a lack of trade interest in the overall vinegar category meant it was in danger of commoditisation, said Aspall commerical director Geoff Bradman.

Consumer surveys carried out last year by Aspall marked the first time the category had been researched in years, he added.

The insight suggested that consumers found vinegar bottles unwieldy, prompting Aspall to axe its 500ml bottles to focus on the existing 350ml lines and launch a new 250ml size for its two balsamic variants.

It is also branching into wine and malt vinegars for the first time, with Sauvignon Blanc (rsp: £1.99), Cabernet Sauvignon (rsp: £1.99) and Malt vinegar (rsp: £89p) hitting shelves this month in 250ml bottles. Pourers and sprinklers will be added across the 11-strong range.

"Vinegar is akin to the olive oil category six or seven years ago, and olive oil has now become an everyday ingredient," said Bradman.

Retailer attitudes to the £41m category had improved as a result of the research, which showed consumers were "fearful" and confused by vinegar, he said. Aspall is also running a marketing push in spring to improve consumer understanding of vinegar.