Heinz is changing the recipe of its spaghetti canned pasta portfolio for the first time in its 80-year history, in a bid to turn around the flagging category&'s fortunes.
From next month, the company is changing the recipe of its tinned spag­hetti, hoops, Alphabetti and shapes brands to contain multigrain - a blend of durum wheat, oatmeal, rye and maize flours and wheat bran - which it said would provide a more nutritionally balanced meal than durum wheat alone.
Nathan Ansell, senior brand manager for pasta meals, said: &"Health is an area where the category has not performed particularly well and to not act on that would be irresponsible.&"
The new recipe will be rolled out across the entire pasta portfolio within the next eight weeks, with the exception of the company&'s ravioli and spaghetti bolognese pasta meals, which are expected to be revamped later in the year.
Cans will carry a multigrain &'tick&' logo that echoes a design used by Nestlé on its cereals, which Ansell said would give a clear and consistent health message to consumers. &"Heinz spag­hetti is to homework what Shreddies is to breakfast,&" he added.
Heinz experimented with multigrain with the launch last year of three children&'s shapes, called Funky Fish, Space Spaghetti and Spaghetti Head, and said that the success of these products had led to the decision to change the ­recipes of all lines.
The market for tinned spaghetti is currently in decline, although Heinz said its products were performing ahead of the category. It said sales of its spaghetti hoops fell 3% in a category that was down 7.2%, while its tinned spaghetti brand experienced a sales slump of 1.2% compared with a 4% decline across ­
the category [IRI 52 w/e
22 April 2006].
However, in spaghetti shapes, where the com­pany&'s three wholegrain products sit, it recorded an 11% sales increase in a category that fell 7.5% in volume. Heinz said that similar moves in categories such as bread had led to double-digit sales increases and said it expected this to be repeated in canned pasta.
Stefan Chomka