Debbie & Andrew's is hoping to persuade sausage lovers to give soup a try as it looks to stretch the brand into new categories.

"This new soup range is the first step in an ambitious strategy to jump the Debbie and Andrew's brand from the sausage aisle into the wider food category," said joint founder Andrew Keeble.

"We have enjoyed fantastic 60% year-on-year growth in a difficult market and now we want to maximise consumer loyalty and our strong retail position."

The five-strong range of chunky soups had been developed as more of a meal in a bowl than a soup, added Keeble, with the first variants made using the top-selling spicy Harrogate and Sicilian sausages.

The soups will retail for £2.19 per pot and compete with New Covent Garden and Duchy Originals in the premium fresh soup category.

The South Yorkshire company plans to back the launch with a 300-day sampling campaign, PR and merchandising activity. The soups are likely to hit chillers early in the New Year.

Green Giant launched into the soup category this year, the first time the brand has ventured out of the canned vegetable aisle.

Smoothie specialist Innocent also unveiled its first range outside of its core offer this year, a rival to soup called Tasty Veg Pots, a four-strong range of chilled ready meals.

The soup market is worth £452.6m, up 9.3% on last year (TNS 25 w/e 13 July).

Ambient soup is worth the most at £280m, up 12.5% on last year while fresh soup is worth £81m up just 2% on last year.