G’s Fresh is looking to inject fresh life into the celery category with the launch of a sweeter, less stringy variety this summer.

Marketed under the name Celericious, the new variety will go on sale in the mults at the start of the UK celery season in the summer and, like Tenderstem broccoli, will sit within retailer own-label offerings.

G’s Fresh marketing director Anthony Gardiner would not be drawn on what formats would be offered under the Celericious name or reveal pricing details.

However, he said that celery was a mature market with a loyal following and that Celericious would add differentiation to the category and attract new shoppers.

“Celericious is a unique, better-tasting variety and part of a lot of innovation we’ve been doing on celery recently,” he said.

There has been little differentiation in the category to date. At present, there are standard and organic own-label versions of celery on sale, as well as packs of ready-trimmed celery sticks and celery hearts [BrandView.co.uk]. Tesco also stocks East Anglian sweet celery hearts (£1.35 for two).

Unlike in broccoli -where Tenderstem has emerged as a successful premium brand with sales of 3.2m kg in 2011 - there is currently no such brand in celery.

This lack of innovation is reflected in the category’s performance - fresh celery sales have been largely static over the past year, with value sales up 0.9% to £77.9m, and volume sales down 1.5% to 48.6m kg [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 25 Dec 2011].

In additon to developing Celericious, G’s has been spearheading efforts to gain EU protected name status for Fenland celery.

Gardiner said he expected the celery to be granted PGI status at the beginning of the summer.