Hovis is ditching its wacky packaging to focus on health and better quality.

The baked beans, tomatoes and cucumbers, featured on-pack since 2001, will make way for a more sophisticated look as part of a huge investment.

RHM is spending £20m on new products, packaging and marketing, including an £8m campaign kicking off next week with TV commercials carrying the strapline 'Hovis is For Life' followed by posters.

The company has already spent £2m developing thicker bags and £7m on recipe improvements, which mean the Square White option is whiter with an improved texture, while Wholemeal is maltier with thicker and larger slices.

New products rolling out under the Hovis brand are 800g Supreme White, Farmhouse Best of Both, and Oatmeal Granary, which contains malted oats and granary flakes. RHM has also introduced 400g versions of Hovis White and Country granary loaves for small households.

Brendan Rice, head of marketing, said the company was putting significant investment into the brand to encourage families to reappraise bread as the basis of a healthy diet.

The NPD is Hovis' first big news since the launch of its Invisible Crust product last August - a move followed by rival Allied Bakeries with Kingsmill Crustless last month.

All the big bakeries are working hard to add value to the humble loaf. TGI/BMRB data shows that consumers are eating bread less often. In 2002, 80% of adults ate bread once or more a day, but by 2005 this figure had dropped to 73%.

However, they are spending more. The total wrapped bread market was up 6.3% to £1.3bn in the year to 26 February [TNS].

Meanwhile, Warburtons is turning up the heat on Hovis and Allied Bakeries by doubling production at its Enfield site.