Florette has outlined ambitious plans to become as big in prepared fruit as it is in bagged salad.

The branded fresh produce specialist, which launched its first six prepared fruit lines in November following its acquisition of Salads To Go last year, expects to record first-year sales of £5m for the fledgling range.

Ultimately, Florette aims to replicate the success it has had in bagged salads, where it has a 12% share of the market. That would equate to sales of about £30m in the £240m prepared fruit sector.

Florette fruit will make its TV debut next week as part of a £3m year-long advertising campaign to raise awareness of the new lines. The ad, which will promote both the fruit and salad lines, will feature a group of dancing farmers and emphasise the freshness of the product, in a similar vein to previous World of Florette ads.

"People understand Florette is about longer-lasting freshness, quality and taste," said commercial director Sandy Sewell. "The read-across the brand is very important."

Florette will also run a £500,000 PR programme, consumer press advertising and in-store promotional activity to drive awareness and encourage trial.

The fruit lines would bring new consumers into the largely own-label category, as well as help raise category value through higher pricing, Sewell added.

The prepared fruit sector struggled in the recession, with values falling 3% to £240m [Nielsen, 52w/e 31 October 2009].

Although he would not reveal details, Sewell said there was considerable NPD in the pipeline and customers could expect new fruit launches in the second half of this year.

Florette's launch into fresh prepared fruit was closely followed by a similar move by Del Monte, which launched its new Naked Fruit line last month. "From a category perspective Naked Fruit is a good thing," said Sewell. "People enjoy eating fruit, and there is an opportunity for brands that add value."