Having ventured into bagged snacks and gluten-free bakery, Warburtons is now making its first foray into wraps and flatbreads.

Britain’s biggest bread supplier is introducing Square-ish Wraps and Sandwich Thins to the bread aisles from February.

Square-ish Wraps (rsp: £1.45 per six-pack) are designed to be used as a lighter alternative to sandwiches and come in resealable packs with a nine-day shelf life. Sandwich Thins (rsp: £1.19 per six-pack) boast the same shelf life and are soft, white flatbreads containing 100 calories. One Sandwich Thin could be used to make a less calorific sandwich than one made with two slices of normal bread, claimed the bakery.

The new lines would act as a “vehicle” to entice younger shoppers who wanted more modern offerings from the bakery category, said Warburtons marketing director Richard Hayes, citing a 16.9% sales growth to £80.2m for the sandwich alternatives ­category [Nielsen 52w/e 2 October 2010].

“Wraps and flatbreads are also growing astronomically in the US and, as brand leader in bread, it is our responsibility to focus on such growth areas in the UK,” said Hayes.

Discovery Foods and Mission are currently the lead brands in wraps and flatbreads but have a Mexican food positioning.

Hayes expected Warburtons to recruit a greater number of consumers owing to its “larger scale and brand name”. The launch would also help the Bolton bakery to accelerate its national distribution programme, he added.

“In certain places in the country, including London, there are ethnic communities that don’t eat so much sliced bread and toast and are more ­familiar with flatbread styles,” he said.

“Independent stores in metropolitan areas ­require breads that major bakeries haven’t catered for. This is part of our ­imperative to grow nationally.”

Warburtons will support the launches with a £2m marketing campaign early next year, including TV ads and sponsorship of food shows, to highlight serving suggestions and encourage consumers to make the most of the versatility of the products.