Princes is squaring up to John West again as it launches a new range of nutritionally balanced tuna salads pitched at the lunchtime market.

The four-strong ambient range, which rolls out next month, comprises: Tomato Salsa, French, Mexican and Italian style tuna salads, packaged in a self-contained bowl with a fork included (rsp: £1.99/210g).

The range was low in saturated fat and high in protein and had been developed in conjunction with an independent nutritional expert to target shoppers grabbing a meal on the go, or stocking up, Princes said.

“We spotted an opportunity to utilise our expertise to deliver a range that addresses consumers’ desire for healthy, convenient products,” added Princes marketing director Neil Brownbill.

Princes first entered the ready-to-eat lunch market with five tuna salads in foil-sealed plastic pots back in July 2005 as it looked to close the gap on rival John West. It removed the products from stores later, citing “a very busy marketplace”.

John West made its first launch into the ready to eat lunchtime tuna salads market seven years earlier with five Light Lunch salads. John West marketing director Mark Critchley said the products “continued to perform well and meet expectations”.

Princes is hoping its latest launch will reinvigorate the declining added-value tuna category, which has seen sales fall 2% over the past year to £17.4m [Nielsen 52w/e 31 March 2012], as price inflation caused by raw material price hikes hit the market.