Mary Carmichael Safeway is bringing out a new 120-strong range of Italian products as part of its World Favourites summer strategy. The launch is the latest move in the multiples' battle for a greater share of the £2bn own label market which is led by economy ranges Tesco Value and Asda Smart Price. All the major players are aiming to make their own ranges destination categories in their own right. Since the start of 2002, Sainsbury has boosted its Taste the Difference range total to 650 products, while Tesco has added new lines to its Finest label which now totals 900. Safeway launched an Eat Smart range in January. A spokesman said it had shown impressive sales so far. Available next week in 480 Safeway stores, the new Safeway Italian range covers ready meals ­ including Italian classics like Lasagne al Forno and more modern dishes Mushroom Risotto and Salmon Farfalle ­ as well as fresh and frozen pizza and pasta sauces. Marinated Olives, Balsamic Onions and Cherry Tomatoes with Mozzarella are among antipasti options. New ambient sauces include Red and Green Pesto. Judith Batchelar, Safeway's npd team general manager, said the Italian foods sector was growing at 17% year-on- year. She said the new range aimed to combine convenience with traditional recipes and the pasta, sauces and antipasti were designed to be mixed and matched. {{P&P }}

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