Mars is hoping to reverse a decline in Dolmio sauce sales with a new 100% natural ingredient claim and some squeezy NPD aimed at kids.

Sales of the sauce brand dropped 2.3% to £148.9m last year [Nielsen 52w/e 2 October 2010] and in a bid to restore them to growth, Mars is adding a 100% natural ingredients message to Dolmio's 16-strong bolognese range from this month.

Over the course of 2011, the claim, which it is making as a result of improvements to its harvesting and manufacturing methods, will be extended to the ­entire Dolmio portfolio.

Mars predicted that the new guarantee would provide added reassurance for mums and consumers who would normally preferred to create tomato-based sauces from scratch.

A new TV campaign featuring the puppet Dolmio family will kick off in April to communicate the new claim.

In a bid to broaden the brand's appeal with children, Mars is also introducing My Dolmio Squeeze Me sachets (rsp: £1.59 per pack of two).

The sachets feature happy face imagery and are designed to be squeezed on to pasta by a child under adult supervision.

Available in creamy tomato, tomato & basil and tomato & cheese variants, Mars said the recipes were especially formulated to ­appeal to children's palates.

"According to our ­consumer research from parenting website Mumsnet, there is a demand among mums for food products they could prepare with their children," said Wendy Wing, customer marketing ­manager at Dolmio.

Read more
Focus On Pasta & Pasta Sauces (6 November 2010)
Public invited to do it like Dolmio puppets and star in new ads (9 October 2010)
Dolmio takes region names off its sauces (5 June 2010)